This poem won the 2011 Perilously Short (Nature) Writing Competition sponsored by Perilous Adventures Magazine.

Southern seas baptise her. Tall forests

cloak her green. Karri, marri, jarrah –

sound their names like psalms

in a landscape that maps longing

into deep belonging.

She is a tannin-stained river of spent

tears, a tangled edge of torn paperbarks,

shedding skins, shredding parchments,

she forgets and forgives lost selves,

might have beens.

Each day, she is embroidered in blossom

through once-burnt heath. By night, she dreams

of stars, their light ungirdled, and salt-white lips

of moon soothing river, inlet and sea…

unpeeling dark and thorny coats, revealing

translucent inner being.

Published in Sunlight of Ordinary Days by Twelve Poets of the Peter Cowan Writers’ Centre. (2014)