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.
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.
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.