Libby Sommer: ‘Flat White, One Sugar’ and ‘On the Path’

Flat White, One Sugar

Up above is special to the birds.
A new craft beer is special to schooner-lovers,
who know it will have a unique aftertaste
before they’ve even had a sip.
The beanie warming the newborn
is special to the mum
swaddling her in hospital.
The cough is special, wretchedly, to the throat.
The wish you hold secretly inside yourself
is special to your being.
The gumboots are special to dry feet,
more special than the joggers,
which are special only in the gym.
The video of the runners
is not special to the owner of the phone
but is special to the competitors in the race.
I don’t want to be special to baristas
who ask how was my weekend,
or people bent over hand-held devices,
not special to those who don’t listen
when I answer their questions.
I want to be as special
as a morning coffee addiction,
but in the way a scarf is special,
or warm gloves,
not because they stand out from the crowd,
but because they know
they give comfort to others.

Libby Sommer

On the Path

It’s green out here.

There are cliffs with straight up-and-down faces,
high-rise breeding havens for mud nesters.

I’m wanting to know
what the birds have to teach us,
but their calls are intermittent,
faint and repetitive, shrill and squawking.

I gaze over the cliffs and across the valley,
a sacred mountain range turned blue
by forests of eucalyptus, where tourists
of every colour crowd the lookouts.
Are they seeking spiritual wisdom
from the mighty mountains?

I would like to know how a lyrebird
learns its complex songs,
or how to laugh heartily like a kookaburra.
We could find vantage points
above daisies and banksias,
butterflies and mountain devils.

On this bush track—the signposted path
to a waterfall—down steps made of logs,
a man stops unexpectedly in front of me.
He squeezes and inhales the leaf of a tea tree.
I too am a believer in the healing power
of plants and in mythical mountains
and holy pilgrimages.

A majestic wedge-tailed eagle
whistles a soft peel
before soaring above us.

The sound of the waterfall
draws me onward.

Libby Sommer



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