Andrew Sant


Bay of Islands

Not a catastrophe, this,

since no-one, as it was happening,

was then available, sedentary, local –

rocks scattered, cataclysmically,

as here only forces of wind

and water can shift;

or else some guy does, a re-assembler,

with a mind to take an excursion

back through geologic time, stop

in the cold late Pleistocene

where the coastline now

is not. Locked once into rock,

the photographed arch that abuts

the sunny cliff – those

who pass under it relying

on the firm fact that today

its inherent collapse

remains held in play. Everything

recommends implied

signs for work-in-progress

or in-regress – flexibility

any way. So, a fine location

for bipeds to clamber about

lightly, as it is for a flock

of pied cormorants, atop

a remainder, sentinel rock,

to digest their catch. Flexibility

also of tilted and uplifted strata

in the stacked sequence

of epochal seasons worth

considering slowly so to wonder,

in effect – at a flexible stretch –

what a needle sampling

the geologic record here might

make of this impressive,

windswept collection.

As if for the paleontologist

who to me confessed

he was deeply into prized fossil

pollen, its music, trapped in layers

beneath Lake Tanganyika; made refined

assertions about proto-bees,

surely those making that low note

a bow might extract from a cello.

Though what aeolian sediments here

might express I’m only equipped

to know hearing closely,

via a flexibly cocked ear, the sea clash

with rock in this irresistible epoch.
Andrew Sant’s most recent collections of poetry are Tremors – New and Selected Poems (Black Pepper, Melbourne, 2004), Speed & Other Liberties (Salt Publishing, Cambridge UK, 2008)  Fuel (Black Pepper, Melbourne, 2009) and the Bicycle Thief & Other Poems (Black Pepper, Melbourne, 2013). He lives in Melbourne.

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