Lambing Time

LAMBING TIME

In a fall of mucous and blood
comes the new lamb
to be licked by the ewe
too white for the dirty world,
startled, amazed,
staggering under mother –
her belly an intimate,
familiar sky.
Then a further shock;
other shaky legs and tails
in the fells and dells,
seeing himself multiplied,
becoming a flock.

 

Julian O’Dea

AUSTRALIAN BURROWING FROG

AUSTRALIAN BURROWING FROG

Little frog, round and jewelled
like a Fabergé egg,
sunk in the dry soil
you wait for rain,
with your waxy veil
for a desert tent,
you squat, bloated sheik,
waterlogged
in your own oasis.

 

Julian O’Dea

Australian Bushfires, January 2020

There is no treatment for these burns.

I woke up on Mars – by the yellow sky.
The smoke – remains of burned forest.
There is no treatment for these burns,
burns to the bone of country.

Australia’s gentle, stupid marsupials
have no answers, do not understand
the question; they approach men
for water and to do something for them.

The hunted, haunted eyes,
their singed, ragged fur,
and the dead they left behind,
mummified in the heat,
the kangaroo still standing
in death, as still as on a coin.

There is no treatment for these burns.

 

Julian O’Dea

Christmas, Australia

CHRISTMAS, AUSTRALIA

Our dry river no longer threads
the water-polished stones.

The glistening fish have slipped
into cracks like lost coins.

Gumleaves have burned
as frankincense to a sky
of one blue, unclouded eye.

Echidnas, buried, wait
to bloom like lumps of bronze
from an ancient hearth.

Julian O’Dea

Momentary

MOMENTARY

Just before dawn the roses appear
white, ghosts of the blooms I know
them to be, then blush pink as day
glows.

I catch such moments, fresh and
personal, like fish you catch on
your own hook when you are nine,
to admire the colours glistening
on the line.

Julian O’Dea

Cape Hunting Dog

Cape Hunting Dog

To gorge on flesh, to choke
and regurgitate, with squirting
blood and soft marrow down
the throat, again and again,
tooth set in jawbone driven
into bone, canine maw wet,
sticky, matted fur, tooth as
awl, bone as whetstone,
mouthfeel is all.

Julian O’Dea

Puppy

Yawning in the morning
the puppy greets the day,
wide to bite the sun like
a ball that’s now in play.
See him stand and stretch,
shaking out his fur,
a bundle of golden hay
with here and there a burr.

Julian O’Dea