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Special N.02 – Poets speak up to Adani

[6] Carbon and The waiting earth

by Tricia Dearborn



[6] Carbon


from Autobiochemistry


Carbon’s multivalence, its

chemical conviviality


links it into chains and rings,

improbable larger structures.


It’s the skeleton of DNA,

of the hormones that make us


female, male; the sugars

that sweeten a mother’s milk;


the alcohol good fortune’s

toasted with. It cycles constantly


between the living

and non-living.


When my body stops, its carbon

will be freed as carbon dioxide


by fire or decay

and a tree may breathe me.




The waiting earth


I don’t know the physics of how an aeroplane

stays up. Something to do with air pressure

above and below the wing.

It seems unlikely.


More than one psychic’s predicted my happy old age

on the strength of a groove

that links heart-line to ring finger. Perhaps we owe

our continued altitude


to that mark on my palm. Fellow-travellers

riffle through magazines, watch the movie.

I’m glued to the window, freed from fear

by awe. Impossible


not to love the world seen from here.

As the plane turns to land, I hang in space

over a tilted wing, absorbing forested curves,

a river’s sinuous silver.


If we held this course, spiralling down

to the waiting earth, this beauty would be here

till the moment we ploughed into it

and after.

‘The waiting earth’ was previously published in The Ringing World (Puncher & Wattmann, 2012).

Published: August 2022
Tricia Dearborn

is an award-winning Sydney poet, writer and editor.

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.