07
Jun
09

Patriarch

Patriarch

 

He appeared as if from dust

Earth, the patented flavour of his skin

Presenting, with slow metho eyes

A barbequed chook

Tucked under one arm

 

Fearing only the meaning of now

For it rubs against the silence of the Gulf

The steady understanding of Mitchell

Each season out there

Fraying the thread between man and home

A little more

 

Inside, they are watching the cricket

Hands reaching for fruit cake

False sons and strange daughters

And a wife, altered to the veins

Betrayed by indifference

Busy with the kettle

 

For what more is there to say?

When there is already a colour television

Reclining chairs and a plastic wall phone

 

This life

Was not his to leave in the first place

It sprouted up here

Took the past by surprise

Now he navigates urban mechanics

Carved out, wandering with bow legs

 

Displaced,

He smokes tobacco on the back step

Counts minutes by bird wing

Lets the blue plumes linger;

Wishes for eucalypt

 

Sheds a tear when the littlest one is afraid

Bundles of grandchildren in terry towelling

The closest he will get to arrival

 

Later he watches them go

Packed into Holden cars

Keeps his feet flat, and safe;

Anchored in earth

 

In the saddle will come acceptance

In the bush, a thousand more brilliant days

 

My Grandfather, Billy Page

My Grandfather, Billy Page

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