Issue 19 Featured Writers Part 1: New Shoots commissioned poems by Mark Tredinnick, Eileen Chong and Eric Avery- curated by Zalehah Turner

Biographical note on New Shoots poets

Lotus Pond

for Sarah

If you want heaven, start in mud.
…………………….Begin transfiguration
Where you’re stuck. Take your pilgrimage standing
Up to your ankles in sludge. And if the ground binds
……………………………and if your boots stick, and if you step
Out of them when you set off; if the odour
On a summer’s day, when the water ebbs, is noisome
…………………………….where you begin, so much more pure

Your thoughts will be when they flower,
…………………….so much sweeter the garden’s scent when
You breathe it in, so much more like birdsong
Your voice when you begin at last to speak. Start underwater
…………………………..if you want the sky. Start in the abject
Underworld, if you want the lighted Earth; start among
The throng of ears that cannot hear. Sink in detritus, seed in
…………………….the strife that your life, and every life,

Falls into now and then: Serenity
……………………springs from squalor; love is only love if it
Can bear the badlands out. These wastes—good for nothing more substantial—
Bloom light and outshine day. The lotus pond,
……………………………..a repurposed wetland well south of its days,
Is a perfect picture, empty, of the imperfection of your soul,
Helplessly in love with the vulgate particulars
…………………….of the secondhand world; in flower,

The pond is your Buddha self
……………………at her ease; the Christ of St Thomas come down
From the cross. Freedom starts, but refuses to stay, in squalor;
Literature takes its first steps in slur and slurry.
…………………………….Put down roots where no one
Else can, in the compost of loss, in the suspect terrain
Of the only life you may ever get to grow in.
……………………Nothing is wrong for long

And hope cannot stay lost,
…………….if beauty can walk from the wreck ,
And the lotus can raise heaven
…………………….from the dreck and the dross.

-Mark Tredinnick

Notes:
1. Christ of St Thomas: The Cross of St Thomas features a lotus
2.well south of its days: ‘South of My Days’, Judith Wright

 


Elizabeth’s Dream

after Fiona Hall’s ‘Folly for Mrs Macquarie’

I

The axe, the dagger, the scythe:
to cleave, to cut, to end.

Wire and bones:
division and death.

The pines on the island:
brittle, abandoned.

What, then, of this?
Pleasure, uselessness –

A road that leads to the sea.
A shelf of rock for a chair.

It’s said I keep a mean table.
I wake up hungry. I know one day

we will leave. We shall not return.
I count out coins with eyes cut into them.

II

On some nights, when the wind
blows from the south, I weep.

He lies next to me, turned away.
I lost her, as he lost the first Jane.

I hear the pipers in my sleep,
piping out the forgotten and

the unnamed. Child after child
after child – failing to take root,

like these crops. So much water
and no rain. We build churches,

barracks, stables, wide verandahs…
To what end? This house,

these gardens, this land:
our dream, and our folly.

-Eileen Chong

 


Passage of Time

De Arco,

Summer of Content,

Assonance,

Radiating through,

Passage of time,

Music Terms,

Moving through,

Mists papilla reborn,

Into a new skin torn,

Out of pages Forlorn,

The music of our ancestors in lines,

drawings recordings,

Songs need physical reality,

To papilla wakanha,

Moving through mists,

Deciphering reality,

Through a different sense,

The mists of the past come back to cleanse,

To heal to mend,

Wakaymali,

To sing to cause to dance,

Wakanhawinanga,

dances of listening,

Listening to truth,

Through our songs and stories,

The land is our proof,

Of our resilience,

In our songs we cry Out to the sky,

Biame,

The land reflected in our eyes,

Passage of time,

Passage of Blood,

Hears and echoes throughout the bay,

Can you live when faced by death,

beat of the heart created from,

Heat in our lungs,

Like the time in our sleep,

When we dream of azure days,
out of pain and deceit,

Violins sound like drums in this cosmopolitan piece composed out of here,

Passage of time.

-Eric Avery


Find out how you can join the New Shoots poets: Calls for submissions for the New Shoots Poetry Prizes


New Shoots- The Red Room Company

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Zalehah Turner is a Sydney based poet, writer and critic currently completing her Bachelor of Arts in Communications majoring in writing and cultural studies at the University of Technology, Sydney. Zalehah is an Associate Editor of Rochford Street Review: https://rochfordstreetreview.com/2016/02/09/welcome-zalehah-turner-rochford-street-review-associate-editor/