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Some days the attraction of outdoors is so overwhelming
I develop acute agoraphobia and only manage to peer
through windows, through angled vertical blinds
at heat bending strands of wild oats missed in the cutting,
the glitter on swatches of York gum leaves, suspended solution
of shadows. Staring too long out of semi-light into the blast
of sunshine, everything reverses, and only imagined outlines
remain. I cannot sustain the anguish of images come unstuck
and realigned, the little obsessions, nervous tic of descriptors.
I search out more proper names. I search through
a telephoto lens. I remember that touch that smell that taste,
I irrupt sense and memory to make terrain.
I think over those people met by Ko Un in his Ten Thousand Lives.
Who once met, make light. In here, looking out, history
and nation writhe on shelves. The guardian, old Shep,
sheep dog who lasted so many years after it made no sense,
no longer marks territory inside or out, his strong scents worn down,
his potent fences that warded off, gone. Even when those I love
pass by and say “hi, John, aren’t you heading out into
the block today, it’s busy with dragonflies and blue butterflies
about the mistletoe . . . ?” I reply: “I think I will go out tonight,
and walk with the stars at my feet, the ground above me,
walled in by dark trees.”
John Kinsella's most recent volumes of poetry include Firebreaks, Drowning in Wheat: Selected Poems 1980-2015, and a three-volume edition of his Graphology Poems 1995–2015. His volumes of stories include In the Shade of the Shady Tree, Crow's Breath and Old Growth. His volumes of criticism include Activist Poetics: Anarchy in the Avon Valley and the recently released Polysituatedness. He is Professor of Literature and Environment at Curtin University and a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge University. With Tracy Ryan he is the co-editor of The Fremantle Press Anthology of Western Australian Poetry, published earlier this year.
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