PAINTING THE TOWN
Come see the light break come watch the sun
Here on this new day Christmas begun
Start from the dark branch crown of a king
Flowers of purple blossom and cling.
Melaleuca morning mantle
Cascades from the heat and night
Bears upon its royal holly
Birth of peace and love and light.
Out of the old wood twisted and hard
Song of December silent unheard
Bursts like a promise onto the stem
Amidst the sharp leaves new life begun.
Melaleuca morning sunrise
From the years of drought and storm
From the hours of heat and darkness
The lord of love and life is born.
Sun splash in forest from land and scrub
Parkland and city backstreets and drab
Late in the season flame from the earth
Trees that are bearing signs of his birth.
Melaleuca morning matins
Magpies carol from the lawn
all created earth is singing
the child of hope and light is born.
COUCH GRASS FIRE
She forks huge streaming pieces of the sky
onto the ragged flag of orange flame.
The tall dark-tented woman
tossing a hundred stick and shadow-shapes
between the wild olive
and along the old stone hill-house wall.
Blue smoke curling in long coils of sharp
and hooking wire - warm and old;
gathering back the ends of all the summers here.
March misting into smoky autumn afternoons.
The long collection of ordinary unknown lives
rolling back from this old street and corner-lane.
An old woman tending a couch fire - and the blue
barbed smoke catching at the eyes for tears.