for Jill McKeowen
our place in the connectedness of things
Gail Hennessy, ‘Our Eclectic Garden’
His hands skip over the piano keys
trilling them as if there’s no weight
in the years we’ve been together,
the rhythms of family and garden
by a backdrop of native bush. He sets
the harmony with strong chords, melodic
as the orchids and roses in their seasons.
He improvises variations: lunch
by the lillypilly, lorikeets in the grevilleas
and birdbath, a grandchild running across
the lawn by bromeliads and ferns,
that haven of shelter for magpies in the heat.
O, there’s a familiar cadence, welcome
as a homecoming. How lucky to have
such company, lemon and lavender, ficifolia
and cycad, memories from our mothers’
gardens in the breynia and feijoa;
their shape and size and colour are songs
to save us. At the end of his impromptu
it’s as if the room overflows
with the slow, luscious notes of gardenias.