Poem: The Work

With the forthcoming re-issue of three of her collections as e-books, Heather Sladdin writes about winter, nature and the process of writing in this week’s Poet’s Corner contribution.

Jun 08, 2016, updated Jun 08, 2016
Photo: David Clarke/flickr

Photo: David Clarke/flickr

The Work

it is mid-winter
and a posse of black knights
are gathering
over the Bremer Ranges

two pelicans paddle
on opposite sides of the river
as a jagged line of ibis
fly south to the Coorong

a houseboat glides from the bank
while a slow train from Adelaide
scrapes across the metal bridge
and climbs towards Tailem Bend

the weight of its containers
a high-pitched strain
of wheels on rail like I
strain to finish my work

the angst of glimpsing
a distant star
and labouring to explain
its quintessence

I dream that I
might simply reach out
and touch it
if I remembered how

as soft clouds rally
a canopy over the river
the mercuric waters turn
into a glimmer of gold

I step into the river
to learn ebb and flow
the way fish jump out of water
the myriad works of light

the rhythm of my body
the layers of being
the lifting of spirit
as I float in the light

and the work of being
is the work of doing
the work of sensing
a waking threesome

Heather Sladdin, of Murray Bridge, was born in Adelaide. During a retail career in the US and Australia, she gained her BA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University and a Graduate Diploma in Women’s Studies from Adelaide University. She tutored and lectured at UniSA and SAIBT (Navitas) in Creative Writing, Editing and Publishing, Communication and the Media, and other associated subjects.

Currently, Sladdin edits and mentors for writers. Two collections of her published poetry, “rooms of discovery” and “the grammar of grapes”, and the verse novel “Patterns of Being”, are about to be brought out as e-books. You can read more about her found here.

Readers’ original and unpublished poems of up to 40 lines can be emailed, with postal address, to [email protected]. A poetry book will be awarded to each contributor.
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