In the latest issue:

In Quarantine

Erin Maglaque

Après Brexit

Ferdinand Mount

Short Cuts: Springtime for Donald

David Bromwich

Meetings with their Gods

Claire Hall

‘Generation Left’

William Davies

At the North Miami Museum: Alice Paalen Rahon

Mary Ann Caws

Buchan’s Banter

Christopher Tayler

‘American Dirt’

Christian Lorentzen

Fiction and the Age of Lies

Colin Burrow

In Lahore

Tariq Ali

GOD HATES YOUR FEELINGS

James Lasdun

Rereading Bowen

Tessa Hadley

At the Corner House

Rosemary Hill

William Gibson

Thomas Jones

Poem: ‘Murph & Me’

August Kleinzahler

The Stud File

Kevin Brazil

John Boorman’s Quiet Ending

David Thomson

In Shanghai: The West Bund Museum

John-Paul Stonard

Diary: The Deborah Orr I Knew

Jenny Turner

The Word from Wuhan

Wang Xiuying

From ‘Corrosive (in 12 parts): Chaos Theory and the Western Australian Central Wheatbelt’John Kinsella
Close
Close
Vol. 28 No. 4 · 23 February 2006
Poem

From ‘Corrosive (in 12 parts): Chaos Theory and the Western Australian Central Wheatbelt’

John Kinsella

581 words

3. Night Recall Station Road: typed in darkness

Walwalinj silhouette blown
sharp
         flooded gum overhang a blackly sparkling canker,
short shirted birdcall in damp,
                    like running the car slow
along Station Road to complete a second program, to rebus
and whorl the Cross Road unlocking, road driven
like an arched back under which all is hollow, the sound
of the cavernous even where the ground is low and saline,
she-oak huddle brushing silver magneto, sand and gravel dust
kicked out of the rain paste, yes, like water rushing, exhumation
of subterranean fractals, wheel ruts filled
with rocks, wagon flashbacks, axle
through thirteen separate land titles, striking
wrong keys like totems not belonging to you, knowing
after type is hot set there’s no going back, harvester
still perched on rose quartz outcrop,
                         tilted
away from the sun of pinpointing shadow
from fence to shaft,
          glow through sustain
plasticated Elders For Sale sign anaphoric
round boundaries, sober
post-restraint
           up to salmon gum canopy,
cavernous ride through cresting fallaways of ploughing
or straight-in seeding, no mucking around, stubble
misses like wire bristles so sharply upright, inevitable given
data to start with, no accidental imply or implore, well water table
hillock osmotically stonewalled or inclined, thick in the throat
like spout or distended gullet,
                    regurgitating, reflexing
sheep picking over red dirt first
green carpeting salutations against perfectly
stacked hay world, samphire offshoots so sharp
with finches still opposite thinning ‘rabbit bush’,
Needlings backbone hanging there against gunshot, crossover
anatomies hoeing desiccated structure against rain,
in shed of pitch and tar, fire roll to circular breaks
a holding-off of paranoid potentials,
                    slick
movements of nomadism, introduced weeds, burrs
carted across property on ignorant hobnailed boots
prised souls mis-striking wheat no-sprouted, lassitude of foliated
salt patch hard on all families, sure, but high on Station Road
they sell well at the expense of the low.

4. Stone Flung Near Head of Observer

The self-propelled mower guided along
firebreak regrowth, fresh growth,
growth sticking its head up too high,
to be lopped off, tall-poppied, struck
a blow for neatness and order, and so
out of Shire rules to prevent spread,
prevent the roll of fires, appease nervous
neighbours paring growth down to dust
on the dust of topsoil, tropes clouds
risen circumoral the blown to whole
face of summer, wind-roar of dustbowl,
and so the self-propelled mower
guided by the firm but gentle hand of a nice sort,
one city visitors might tantalise as ‘rustic’,
replete with Yorkshire twists and compressions
of accent, though thirty-five years off the boat,
and so this observer mulling contrast
and balance, dizzying with revs per
thought and plenipotentiary nature
of cutters on brain-scan slice of planet,
thoughts of the solo quandong bristling
on the uncleared road, a thought of mortality
occurring much later, as brisk as a leaf’s
point of breaking away, the first seized stone
shot past the lines of senses,
so close skin resounded around hair follicles
so close glancing down at spider in woodpile
so close the shed started like a nail gun
snapping into place, shed metal punctured
at angles and impact patterned as undoing
of forensics as the bullet that enters
and exits the fyke-style whole of imagination.
Prayer is loud, prayer is instant, prayer
lingers in anticipation, as sharp as the visuals
of stone flung close to head of observer
is blurred, distally connected to wherever
the bony centre of what’s breakable
in the magnificent structure of our bodies
locates, spreads out largely and minutely.

Send Letters To:

The Editor
London Review of Books,
28 Little Russell Street
London, WC1A 2HN

letters@lrb.co.uk

Please include name, address, and a telephone number.

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Read More

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.

Newsletter Preferences