The Bluetongue as an Answer to the Anxiety of Reputation

Three bluetongues reside in our steep bush garden
of sandstone ledges and the stumps of fallen trees.
One is content to doze under a rock while around her
everyone chatters; one lost the pointy end of its tail
to a neighbour’s cat and one dozes in the dead plot
beneath brown grass cuttings and when disturbed,
scampers off to hide in the drain under the steps.
I’m tempted to give them Australian nicknames
like Liz, Stumpy and Handbag. At least these lizards
will never attempt to scare away a lawn mower
with the forked lightning of their tongues.
When I take the poets on a tour of the garden,
Liz comes out from under a log, a life model
unveiling for a portrait. She’s happy enough to bask
in the warm afternoon sun and soak up the attention.
Why fret about where you are in the scheme of things?
Instead, cultivate the blissful solitude of a bluetongue,
grow fat and warm on the exposed rocks
that nature bequeaths you and occasionally open one eye
to gaze at the theatrical manoeuvrings of those
whose blood is thick and cold with unfulfilled ambition.

Published in August 2014 no. 363
Andy Kissane

Andy Kissane

Andy Kissane is the Coriole National Wine Poet. His fourth collection of poetry, Radiance, is forthcoming from Puncher & Wattmann. See:

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