Thursday, December 18, 2008

A View from Jam Tree Gully

By Tracy and John

Place filled with jam trees and York gums, though still needing much replanting, especially of undergrowth, and particularly in the deep gully area... (For more on wheatbelt trees, see here.)

There are also granite boulders, and extensive areas of fractured and fragmented granite, and kangaroos pass through from the neighbouring reserve.

Here is a brief excerpt from a work-in-progress of John's. It is "based" on the 1829 text of Thomas Lovell Beddoes's Death's Jest-Book, edited by Michael Bradshaw.

John says: Readers of Beddoes's original "drama" will note much interleaving and reworking of Beddoes's original lines, but often with an antithetical application and outcome in terms of poetics and meaning. In many ways, this section of the original has been inverted with regard to the multiple and variegated death motifs. Irony, though busy elsewhere in my work, as it is throughout Beddoes, is relatively absent in the following extract. (Though not entirely!)

An extract from Death’s Jest-Book Intertext (1829 text): a de-dramatisation (out of Beddoes)
Act III, Scene III

...I am guided
into a second gully, Jam Tree Gully,
where divinely beautiful pyrite-
riven soil spills eventful
as unexpected night
falling on us — a cloud covering the sun:
the land shone tense with shining.
They called it Sleepy Hollow
and horses made paths on the hill.
First thing, down with the electric fences,
away with the steer and ram skulls
on the gate, and a declaration to the valley
that we are alive, my wife,
and the gully will fill with prayer
and roots and change the colour
of the sky. The beasts pass by.
The colour of night
is the colour of our day,
and never again will I say,
abandon this ungrateful country,
its relics of wasp nests
its fracturings of granite
its sepulchral radiance
its shadows and requitals.
The lichen blazons.
The moss soothes.
The rough ground is a place
of growth and we joyfully
oversoul creation. No desolate souls,
no trackless expressions. Dust
clings and reshapes
with unrestrained passion.
The valley is full of eyes,
desiring eyes bargaining dreams.
Nature comes back.

John Kinsella

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