thomas m wilson

Ode to the Swan River

August 1st, 2008

[For those not from Western Australia, the Swan River is a broad and slow flowing river which winds through Perth and out to the sea at Fremantle.]


I throw down my bike, and I’m here.

The flowing Swan, soothing broth for my head.
Drinking in the cooler shadows, I look down on my pass, never fled.
High above the water, amongst the needles of the trees.
I pause for a moment and sigh, not being charged any fees.

Anger at Four Wheel Drivers slips out in a rasp.
Blood moves through me, the currents of flow yet out of my grasp.
Casuarina trees mat my ground with their flax,
This pause elongates, then disbands incremental emotional tax.

Nothing is demanded by the dimensions of my local river bank,
The palimpsest of the Paper-bark has only a history of evolution in its tussled flank.
The waving Zamia palm’s government is the risen sun,
The only land-lord of this Marri is the afternoon wind and its sometimes squalling run.

The slope of this sandy earth was not a grandstand in 1829,
And you can hear no querulous Wattlebird report upon those whose questing navy was of Lime.
Prior events were more cyclic, a thousand years contained the morning’s news.
The khaki colour of my sentinel’s leaves, a leached detail any day would not fear to lose.

The morning of this quiet, greener millennia is here.
I look around this river bank, now my Today has dispensed with fear.
I stand upon the grassy river’s edge and am complete,
Let us pray for others yet to rise to their feet.