Common of Garden Poets #12 – Kerri Shying


Where the bees rest where the butterflies play

                                                                  “What we most need to do is to hear within us 

                                                                     the sounds of the earth crying…”

                                                                                     – Thich Nhat Hanh

from October the trees are all betrothed        each

to the gardener                        in nets  white gauze    

figs      peaches sequestered from the busy beaks

and teeth          of bats and birds

the day            sultry as a girl in her slip swimming     

waiting on the Southerly Buster

cicadas  heat from the city      a brown bubble popped

by flat-iron cloud-banks                      

high and sharp as the beaked head of a kookaburra

tall sky and 

gratefully I’m small


up the hill 

march the white

agapanthus                  forcing genetic breaks

onto our purple beauties          scrambling the misty blues

to hybrids        there is no 

            one garden       in my street


I see     the Ice flower

nipped out on a beach walk    mini red-fringed suns

succulents  rescued from places where old age gave way

to builders’ aspirations            pieces of old friends

the Mentone red geranium that Gaagang saw from his pram

Hoya from the balcony           back at the flat           the boys had

in Drummoyne            your tree

  a pencil planted just before

you died


begonias like Mum’s   pelargonium from The Redemptorists 

a fine piece of Menken’s building   lotus out of farm dams

mingle a floral beer garden    with tin peacocks

and galahs                   turmeric  galangal  Vietnamese mint 

vanilla orchid                         mustard greens

are you hungry            thinking how to mow around 

the condiments                        and if you’ve ever seen a chicory flower

mauve and  delicate as tissue 



I see a garden built by birds by bats   


flown in  yonder          from Ash Island 

White Cedar    loquat  air mail

in a sweep of feathers

    the odd drop of oyster shells           

beside the Jizo statue

bark     depends from gum tree           piling around roots

mandarin and finger lime        lemons            parsley

all engrossed with weed         with blue tongues

pushing up in pots       in tubs in cisterns



these tiny         hair-drawn feet

can tread

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