Plastoral

Allan Lake

 

A few millenia after God finished creation week,

awhile after Eve & Adam chose Snake as mentor,

precocious descendants created plastic and verily

they saw that it was a thing that might remain

true to purpose forever.

                                           Apocrypha

 

Five plastic bottles bobbing along the swollen,

mid-downpour Elwood canal, colourful heads

screwed on, unlike so many of their kind.

Dutiful citizen would have discarded the caps,

crushed the bodies with hard sole then,

inflated with righteousness, placed them

in the proper recycling bin but, behold –

an accidental installation that upstages

ducks and ducklings, Mr and Mrs Swan and

their downy, diminishing-in-number cygnets.

cats/foxes/drunks

 

Two two-litre fruit juice bottles,

three smaller fizzy-drink bottles.

(Detail would amount to advertising)

So like a family, my family.

We had three small fizzies and none

was ever taken by dingo or kidnapper,

although one was allergic to cats,

like much of Australian fauna.

Buoyant bottles in a flood-prone part

of marvellous Melbourne, oblivious,

in heavy rain. Entirely unnatural so

without natural enemies. I hadn’t seen

them there before or on the ornamental

pond in Elsternwick Park or down

at the beach or up a gum tree near

the herons’ nest – not this bunch anyway.

I may never see them again; however,

the impression, without rationale, was indelible

as they were literally being swept away.

 

Could have taken a photo but the rainy rain,

lack of any purpose.  It never occurred to me

then and I never carry a camera anyway

so I couldn’t have, even if I’d felt inspired.

No beauty, no meaning, no symbolism

worth teasing out, writing a song about.

 

I noticed plastic bottles full of stale air,

not diamond rings. Please, do not imagine

little mounds of glittering, likely stolen,

diamond rings within those bottles

or you may lose semi-precious time

constructing stories of hapless ice addicts

who stashed their haul on a ledge beneath

a bridge, before the once-in-a-decade rains.

None of that happened, at least to bottles

I saw. Not then anyway.

While walking, I chanced upon five

similarly directionless plastic bottles

of no fixed abode that I felt moved

to mention. That is what happened.

 

Originally from Saskatchewan, Allan Lake has lived in Vancouver, Cape Breton Island, Ibiza/Spain, Tasmania, W. Australia & now calls Melbourne home. He has published two collections; Tasmanian Tiger Breaks Silence (1988); Sand in the Sole (2014) plus the chapbook, Grandparents: Portraits of Strain (1994). Lake won Elwood Poetry Prize 2015 & 2016, Lost Tower Publications(UK) Poetry Comp 2017 and Melbourne Spoken Word Poetry Festival/The Dan Competition 2018.         

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