Poems

Helene Castles: ‘Art in the Singing Garden’ and ‘Beachwalk’

Art in the Singing Garden

Toolangi, Victoria

 

There are dapples in the forest drawing outlines on the bark;

the Listener of the Poetry is wandering quietly through.    

It was here he learned the lyrics of the Magpie and the Lark.

 

He had been the “Poet Laureate” of the Push, the Stoush, the Nark;

real expression in his Song Book, recomposed Ter tell yeh true! 

There are dapples in the forest drawing outlines on the bark.           

 

The soft earth gives beneath his feet, all still and quiet, but hark!

Singing morning has begun, the ground birds hopping two by two.

It was here he learned the lyrics of the Magpie and the Lark.

 

He harvested the birds’ song, forest-scrounger, to embark  

on briefings, ’til the Springtime’s court upheld his verse anew.  

There are dapples in the forest drawing outlines on the bark.           

 

He composed The Singing Garden, fielding colours light and dark,

the twitter in the bushes then a flash of gold and blue

It was here he learned the lyrics of the Magpie and the Lark.                                                                                   

A scholar of “What Bird is That?” he fanned the Muse’s spark;  

the flame burned rich with story! time is fleeting, worms are few.   

There are dapples in the forest drawing outlines on the bark.

It was here he learned the lyrics of the Magpie and the Lark.

        

The phrases in italics are from C.J. Dennis: The Songs of a Sentimental Bloke: “The Intro”; The Singing Garden: “Morning Glory”, “The Blue Kingfisher”, “The Ground Thrush”

Helene Castles

 

#Beachwalk@80

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may

—Robert Herrick

 

It’s morning and the tide is in retreat;

the sand flats ripple patterns, as an art.

 

Soldier crabs are working to a plan,

safety holes and tunnels to complete.

 

Searching in the rockpools as we play,

our musings yield an atmosphere of joy;

 

thoughts recoil, discerning, growing restless:

we snap the latch on what we thought to say.

 

Rock to sand to pool, our day’s complete,

when whistling ducks swing in on grassy dunes.

 

Osprey swoops; reclaiming occupation.

A turkey, now outnumbered, in defeat,

 

hides in the vines and scrub that line the beach.                                

Gulls that dip, and dive, and scan the waves,

 

land lightly on the beach to check the scene;

stand sentry on one leg, just out of reach.

 

The soldier crabs have scarified the land;

we laugh and splash, in sodden sands we play,

 

and from old age, we hasten a retreat:

utilize each comeback—while we may.

 Helene Castles

           

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