Common or Garden Poets #4 – Kathryn Fry inviting Jill McKeowen



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.

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