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From: Vol.03 N.02 – Decolonisation and Geopoethics

Beyond the immediacy of things

by Renee Pettitt-Schipp

landscapes of sound unravel, reveal a depth of field beyond traffic; magpies and crows, larks and wrens, and a bird I’ve never heard before, its new notes.

One, two, three, four … a great bird of prey bats its rufous wings against breeze – glides, looks – one, two, three, four … moves smoothly over steel lake. The sun has sunk itself into the dark waters and is un-rounded, fragmented by shift and surge of surface.

This morning – so many spoonbills, busy with their huge utensils in shallows behind the gums. Their mornings own a purpose I could use. The black-winged stilt honks, returning to sand, a swallow makes a neat incision in sky above my head. When the stilt flies she is small, but her long, red appendages stretch out like banners, like a celebration behind her.

The bulrushes are moving. Together, they shake off the night and with the slightest sigh, gossip about the wind. The crows are sorting out their business high in distant limbs, while here by the water, wrens scatter their rush of notes amongst the undergrowth.

When I sit here, I no longer have any questions, only thoughts that move in circles suspended in their own internal logic, held in a story about immensity. And within that, the specific; brown-red head of the welcome swallow on a branch that pushes out of silver, the swamp-hen’s painted face, rising comically from high grass.  These things make sense to themselves, and to me, when I am here with the slowness to know them.

A bee spins prostrate on his wings in water, I want to write about his dance of death, the waves of blue light behind him. But I can’t bear it. I take a branch, reach out to him, wait in bee-time for him to find the twig tiny feet can climb. And he does. And I take him onto the deck to dry.

Now he repays my act by letting me watch his ablutions in the sun. First he walks, then he takes his black front limbs, rubs them over her proboscis, drawing his legs out long like arms. Then his middle legs dry his front legs, then almost human-like, he rubs his limbs over his large, dark eyes, walks in a circle, arches up as middle legs run down back legs. Then he is gone, down between the decking, and I am alone, looking at planks and leaves.

Published: July 2016
Renee Pettitt-Schipp

is an emerging writer who has been widely published throughout Australia. Renee is currently enjoying a cross-discipline approach, taking poetry into unexpected places. Renee has been recognised through many awards, including her recent shortlisting for both the ACU poetry prize and the inaugural Dorothy Hewett manuscript prize.

An Australian and international
journal of ecopoetry and ecopoetics.

Plumwood Mountain Journal is created on the unceded lands of the Gadigal and Wangal people of the Eora Nation. We pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and to elders past, present and future. We also acknowledge all traditional custodians of the lands this journal reaches.