Saturday, 12 January 2013

Zanzotto: Bushfire


The will-it won’t-it by January
sunrise too hot, catch too easily

Ground litter rushes this way and that
air lifts taking branches dust paper

Language heightens the preliminaries
tinder dry will be flying ember

Ozone hole morphs into heat dome
denial feeds what cannot be denied

Watchers try to wait it out easy
measure the day with their fire plan

Sublunar we mark the boundaries
clear the property of native refuse

Property, the invisible lines
around our landed wishes

It is burnt gumleaves come first
flat brown clouds above the hills

Flying flowing the immaterial flames
will turn dark every seed-grown material

Seed cases decades buried
old grenades ready to explode

But will it come and where
unturned topsoil takes the heat

Fuel load waits, unmoving grasses
could spark here, or somewhere

Will touch off across the fences,
from gullies will trickle small burns

Radio starts up non-stop service
containment lines and no go roads

But will it? Birds soft sound the air
keep close to water on what-if days

Monsoon an abstract
lightning or arsonists about the edges

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