Wheatbelt Gothic or Discovering a Wyeth, by John Kinsella

14 June 2012

Outflanked by the sheep run, wild oats
dry and riotous, barbed wire bleeding rust
over fence posts, even quartz chunks
flaking with a lime canker, the theme
chooses itself: ubi sunt motif, but the verse
becomes as deceptive as an idle plough,
or a mat of hay spread over the ooze
of a dead sheep that is the floor
of the soak (blood-black beneath the skin,
bones honeycombed), crystallised with salt.

And yesteryear occluded by the viscous waters
of the stone-walled well which (on higher
ground) marks the dryness of the soak as either
delusion or lie. Only green shoots hidden
in the dead sheaths of reeds on the soak’s rim
hint that water supports this travesty.

And the moon absorbs the sun, its fabric
subtlety – the undressing of a summer landscape
too blond for its own good, too much an extract:
the mid-West Gothic of a lone tree stump
that appears to beckon in its loneliness – open space
as collusive as a vaulted cathedral in Europe,
and the well as much a receptacle of guilt
as the cathedral’s font. And consider the potential,
no, consider the necessity, of a flaxen-haired girl
merging in this field of vision and then erupting
from a point above the waterline, the tree stump.

///

[Ripped from http://www.poetryinternationalweb.net/pi/site/poem/item/749. Read in Peripheral Light: Selected and New Poems, published by Norton. Available on Kinsella’s own website here.]

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