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Special N.02 – Poets speak up to Adani

Waterlily Pond 

by Judith Beveridge

for Diana Bridge


At the slow-gaited end of summer’s day,

dragonflies dart as precisely as needles

tatting the ornate patterns of lace-charts.

A kingfisher snatches a dragonfly midair—

holds it in its bill like an ampoule

of iridescent magenta ink. Slowly

an egret lifts—smoke from a clutch

of joss sticks. Koi sip at the surface, their lips

like the rubber rings of party balloons.

Another egret rises, legs trailing under

it long and thin as toasting forks.

A damselfly in rapid flight, a scholiast’s pen

annotating in margins, stops, touches

down on a lotus. Then a heron

with the calm posture of a Shinto priest

about to cleanse a shrine with prayer

steps suddenly towards an ibis

swallowing what its caught

from leaf pulp and bottom slime. I hear

the polyphonic tinkling of water, a tizwas

of insects soft-pedalling above white stones.

A version of ‘Waterlily Pond’ was previously published in Meanjin 76, 2 (Winter 2017): 197.

Published: August 2022
Judith Beveridge

is the author of six collections of poetry, most recently Devadatta’s Poems and Hook and Eye: a selection of poems. She first became friends with Martin Harrison in 1979 when he was caretaker at the Quaker meeting house in Sydney and they maintained a strong friendship until his death in 2014.

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.