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From: Vol.01 N.01 – Ecopoetic Ruminations

from Sparrow

by Matthew Hall


The wind currs at the end of autumn. How the rain on the house is not an instinct. The road an aviary.

tarnished clasp of handle
the figure of water
each season
with moments which disappear

She fingers and refolds his clothes. His shirt is a still arboreal light. It is the terminal colour of all leaves.

The fields widen to become the ragged edge of the future through each acre, the way a disused nest is most visible in leafless bough, a husband’s voice in its frailty and its distance.

her mourning hieratic
spun like an arrangement of leaves
her wizened hands
the way silence once
the rituals of water

The bounding footsteps on the stairs above her, an absence as indiscernible to desire. Memorial, cloudcover.

The tireless mending, the hem of her skirt through wet grass, awaiting the blades of hallow feathers.

she lingers
a clutch of stones
a child’s toy
winter stars appear
in another’s mouth

She lives by a disconsolate gift, the shrived night, untethered seam.

Fenced yard of years burning, the weight of the axe in agile hands, the trill of a darning fire.

a wife clothed
in the weight of acres
cattail hearts
a rosehip tisane
the bitter warmth of nourishment

He sows the household of memories; a sorrow which grows by stalk, sudden leaf, and branches.

And the fields, swathed now, at the withered table; cinched dark bulbs in the earth, looming.

the descent of light
his lone steed
a quiet shame
which masks his throat
with autumn

The limbering fires they rely on for warmth, the rifting winds, and the ashes which flock over inherited fields.

She remembers her son on the shoulders of his father, legs churning through the air, a regal flight through the instincts of a body.

weight bearing on colors
augured grain
and seeddust
in the last leaves of autumn

The mask of joy in bright distant townships, circling wild grasses, with clipped wings.

Snow geese wend and lilt off gilded fields, flying over the riven house, lifted in the wake of another.

leaving a doorway
sky swelling
the shuttered leap
a whittled toy rolling
on the stone floor

Rain, with its rending swarm, a widow and her alter. The field, and the silence of consonant feathers.

In the light reflecting off windowpanes, the dwelling of memory, that ragged animal joy.

his each breath
hobbled with loss
wreathes of distance
the winter
and the dormancy of beauty

His hand on hers, clothed in childhood, the twinning of limbs which till the land.

Daybreak fossicking in warren clouds, the scent of fire, the weight of bread.

the rituals
which govern
her wild nourishment
the calm
before his morning

Thick-lipped glass jars, perfect silence broken before the meal, the rattle of dishes, a fledgling song, heard, when the weather holds.

Published: January 2014
Matthew Hall

is a doctoral candidate at the University of Western Australia, and a Visiting Academic Fellow at the ICCC, at the University of Saskatchewan. His latest collections include Royal Jelly and Hyaline from Black Rider Press. The work featured here was selected from an eighty page pastoral elegy called Sparrow (forthcoming). He is the Features Editor at Cordite Poetry Review, and one of the Founding Editors of ‘/ ‘ or ‘Forwardslash‘, a transnational journal of innovative poetics from Canada and Australia.

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.