poem: river redgum

River Redgum.

I drowned. The river found me rolling in her roil.

Her steel-grey fingers plucked my angel brain.

My silver thoughts she shredded. Plucked for fish,

they swam like semen. She felt them through her muscle,

purposeful like metal, cold as shine, like nerves.

She gave my fear to yabbies : snappy things, hard-armoured,

snapping backwards into cracks along her meaty banks,

jutting futile eyes, their crazed antennae lashing

and flashing in the heavy pull of all that water.


(crunchy her claws are, full of fragrant flesh –

they’re sculptors’ claws, much-sculptured)


and she flung my rage wrangling

and shattering like chatter

over her shoulder. With the wind

it flew shivering into the reeds, and I,

when I sank,


I was cradled in the red gum’s cavern

by her feeding fingers, held fast in her mud,

which swelled like flesh and sucked up

to my bones to be new flesh for me, while it sucked

away the old – the mud of the mother,

the lips of the river gum tree.


Then I slowly ascended in the sap of my new mother’s limbs.

Green was my streaming hair.

Now I gaze across my green, kangaroo-lekked

and wombat-warrened lap, My skull

is humble in my wooden hand. The acres

flow like breathing from my sides.

They stretch out long and warm like eagle wings

to distant ridges fringed with ravens’ cries.



© 2009 vyvyan ogma wyverne

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