The spread of influence up and down the hill
is barely the proliferation, the profusion
of manna wattle. A winter blazing.
Spokes emanating from the ant colony
under the clutch of jam trees opposite
the red shed’s wall-sized canvas door,
halfway to the summit. These mannas
are up against it as much as anything else,
with human majorities stomping on what
can be stomped. I doubt Swift truly
loved ‘nature’ and his Lilliputian
anxiety is more than a focus
on the monstrous phallus
or the Brobdingnagian crevasse,
the gully through which male
and female flower parts might tumble.
When we first arrived, I walked
with handfuls of fruits and dropped
into erosion lines veining from the gully,
and now so many years later, the resistance,
the rise, these acts of being. I walk
amidst their plethora. I walk in amazement.
I shelter from the land-clearers and know
this is no surfacing on defoliated ground
of the next generation that will be mowed
down down. With fallout sickness
more than an act of satire, more
than an act of verbal disgust,
the mannas will push health
beyond the spectrums of aggression —
those spiritless realm where flowers
are decoration and their bodies scaffolds.
Manna wattle lives outside plantations.
John Kinsella‘s most recent volumes of poetry are Drowning in Wheat: Selected Poems (Picador, 2016) and Firebreaks (WW Norton, 2016). His most recent collection of short stories is Crow’s Breath (Transit Lounge, 2015). His investigation of “place”, Polysituatedness: A Poetics of Displacement, is due out with Manchester University Press late 2016. He is a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge University and Professor of Literature and Sustainability at Curtin University.