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Special N.02 – Poets speak up to Adani

How to Dive in Kelp Forest

by Susan Fealy




kelp (ME cülp(e), of unkn. orig)

The Concise Oxford Dictionary 


The stipes braid together, grow air-filled bulbs, float

each frond towards the surface.

Do not jump into a mess of greenish-gold. Wait for the swing of the boat

to move away. In thick kelp, the surface is not your friend;

sometimes, even the bottom is not your friend.

Make a mental map:

sketch it on your dive slate—plan your depth and time.

Canopies are so thick, it is like cave-diving

—floating through an upper understorey of golden branches. Break stipes

as if you are breaking a pencil—carry shears, but not a big Rambo knife. Don’t start


and then discover your second stage is unfindable.

Did I mention the sculpins? The senoritas and Spanish shawls? The starfish,

urchins and gorgonians?

Don’t penetrate so deep

you don’t know where out is. When surfacing, select a sand-patch

where blue sky may be seen.


‘How to Dive in Kelp Forest’ was previously published in Flute of Milk (Crawley, WA: UWAP, 2017)

Published: August 2022
Susan Fealy

is a Melbourne poet who is widely published in literary journals, including the May 2016 Poetry (Chicago) issue focusing on Australian poets and poetry.

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.