There is a bigger telling that moves around the world

In Britain, rain like newsprint the poor getting poorer something
that might have been done      was not done      and the cold no of it echoes

on site, builders     in their bright hats     digging, drilling, lifting, building
muscles flexing relaxing in Paleolithic rhythm
and shouting!      they must shout above the noise of the rain
above pneumatic pounding   and the clang of spades     opening the ground

here in Oz, sun centre-spreads      the sky’s backdrop      to our backyard bbq
radio buzzing      with stories of asylum seekers      denied asylum

the humble muscles of our tongues flake words like flint
into the afternoon words that sinter     into the tumulus     of understanding
that will be mounded over us

we know that all we have is because of mistake cellular mishaps accidents
of birth     all the taking and taking     history’s cruelties secreted in the earth

but over by the barbie someone is helping a child flip the meat
passing a metal spatula saying ‘spatula’ and when the child says ‘badala’
‘that’s right, spatula’

there is a song of yes    in our blood the ultimate thump-thump of it
the unkindnesses that happen are not the last thing that will happen
we have all the words and we’ll use them just see how we will.


Alison Flett was born and bred in Scotland but is currently living in Australia. Her poetry collection, Whit Lassyz Ur Inty (Thirsty Books) was shortlisted for the Saltire First Book of the Year Award. In 2014 she was shortlisted for the Australian Whitmore Press Manuscript Award. She has just been awarded an ArtsSA grant to work on a new poetry collection exploring the nature of home and belonging.



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