Tuesday, December 20, 2016

More Beeliar/Coolbellup Bushland Poems

The bush is being torn away as I write. It's a scene of horror. Hundreds of people doing their best to stop it. Three new poems.


Failure in-situ — what can be written
as butcher birds clarify the rise and fall
and fall and fall? The Coolbellup woodlands
where zamia palms spike your conscience
on the path — those trees would be good
to inhabit, to ward off the bulldozers,
the employees of the contractors,
prepped to counter protests
shallow in their psyches — jobs to do.

Failure in-situ — what can be written
as the police encircle, ring the wagons,
protect the destroyers? Chat with them,
find the flaws, or treat them as alien.
Either way, either way. As organisation
fragments in the empty shadows, in the vast
cavity of drill and scour, the root canal
of hate. Glib as the wattlebird scurrying
into the dusty air, the fun-fair tree falling away.

Failure in-situ — what can be written
as wound widens, as lexical fluctuations
upset even the certainties of horror? New
inflections in the oldest concept, the oldest
truth of all. The horror spreads and on the outer
we wonder at the silence, to circumnavigate
and find the organs of the body stripped out,
this cannibalism which is celebrated as ‘progress.’
The realm of apocalyptic literature grows.

            John Kinsella

Accounts — to the Premier of Western Australia

I hold you accountable for the trauma our thirteen-year-old
is going through as habitat for the birds he loves is destroyed.

I hold you accountable for the emphysema of the biosphere,
that gasp you add to our last gasps, deoxygenated, stranded by the road.

I hold you accountable for the zoo of death, for the ark scuttled
and going down with all hands on board, for survivors shot on the surface.

I hold you accountable for helping boil the planet in its own oil,
for encasing it in bitumen dredged from the pits of hell.

I hold you accountable for making science a convenience store
in which well-fed bullies stuff their baskets without paying.

I hold you accountable for cruelty and torture, for casualties
you don’t acknowledge, for ignoring alternatives to feed your vanity.

I hold you accountable for treating life as a game in which winner
takes all, a psychology of childhood instilled by abusive adults.

            John Kinsella

A Failure of Empathy

In the tragi-comedy of streets,
the Shakespearean momentum
of anniversary, police approach
a child carrying a sign that asks
what’s to become of his future.
In silence, he stands, facing
contractors and police,
and all is in that moment,
the bush falling to the blade,
the police ready to counter
any threat.

            John Kinsella

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