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From: Vol.07 N.01 – Plant Poetics

Scarlet Runner Rhapsody Villanelle [a variation]

by John Kinsella

We wait for the storm, constraining our moods,

those unnameable clouds’ inspissation over the hills

while in the darkening valley Scarlet Runner buds.


We have always used ‘the weather’ to shape our forms,

extracting plasma in our star-gazing parallax seasonals,

so we wait for the storm, constraining our moods.


As kids we skirted the dry places and followed

tendrils of ‘Running Postman’ as it delivered redwax seals,

while in the darkening valley Scarlet Runner buds.


And while such a cold-low plant will warm in its seed-memory of flame,

auguries of cellulose and sap, linalool and ocimene, pigment-wink survival,

and so we wait for the storm, restraining our moods.


All these plant connotations of behaviour and words,

all the reforms and plots of restoration held prostrate as squalls

entangle the darkening valley and Scarlet Runner blooms.


These snaps of insight these visages knowing how to reform

and attract, to defy and not deify narratives of quietus and Fall;

we wait for the storm, constraining our moods,

while in the darkening valley scarlet runner broods.

Published: March 2020
John Kinsella

John Kinsella’s most recent works include the poetry volumes Drowning in Wheat: Selected Poems (Picador, 2016) and Open Door (UWAP, 2018), the story collections Crow’s Breath (Transit Lounge 2015) and Old Growth (Transit Lounge, 2017), and the critical volume Polysituatedness (Manchester University Press, 2017).  He often works in collaboration with other poets, artists, musicians, and activists. He is a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge University, and Professor of Literature and Environment at Curtin University, Western Australia. He lives on Ballardong Noongar land at Jam Tree Gully in the Western Australian wheatbelt, and has also lived in the USA, UK and Ireland.

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.