A priest undoes his belt.
Twenty years later,
I compare his gentleness
to a Tibetan sky burial.
But there was only one vulture
skeletonising the cadaver
on a barren slope.

James Charlton

Additional Info

  • Free Article Yes
  • Custom Article Title 'Choir Practice' by James Charlton | States of Poetry Tasmania - Series Two
  • Contents Category States of Poetry - Poems

The failed money-fix of the 1980s:
dying tree plantations. Stark struts of fizzed-out financial hype.
The words ‘inherent value’ devolve into a distant dialect.

Yet some people retain three eyes.
They perceive the radiance of things.
Their eyes can tell you much within.

If they know the Australasian bittern,
or the pallid cuckoo’s elegant thievery,
they know beyond facts, words, concepts.

Who is it that hears behind the ear?
Who is it that sees behind the eye?
               (Kena Upanishad 1:1)

Weather-washed limbs scramble down to a lagoon’s hem.
On this side, a thin beach of pink granite grits.
Wading bird wades with punctuation.

Sheep were here once, spread thinly.
Scatter of bones, cartridge cases,
beer bottles.

Always a conjunction of ending with beginning.
Sigh of water easing from somewhere
to somewhere. Stunted tea-trees,
fretted bark.

James Charlton

Additional Info

  • Free Article Yes
  • Custom Article Title 'Wonder' by James Charlton | States of Poetry Tasmania - Series Two
  • Contents Category States of Poetry - Poems

We invent the colour ‘blue’
and say the sky is blue.
An older language
sees everything
as sacrament.

Soggy Winter has become Spring’s fullness.
Pungent cascades of melaleuca:
frothy white, yellow, pink.

Do we feel small sounds
all around? A waft of midges
in sun-shafts; the just-here-ness
of lichen.

We participate in the weakness, in the power, of the Vast.|
Black-faced cuckoo-shrike tilts her head.
Resiny spinules of grass tree.

A tract of land becomes inner experience;
the pronouns ‘I’, ‘me’ and ‘my’ dissolve in the dusk,
and come back
changed.

James Charlton

Additional Info

  • Free Article Yes
  • Custom Article Title 'This' by James Charlton | States of Poetry Tasmania - Series Two
  • Contents Category States of Poetry - Poems

One who performs divination by dissecting faeces

We poke apart devil scats.
Clotted fur, bone fragments, gristle,
possible scraps of crushed mollusc.

Devils lope across roads less and less.
That which people called a growl
was possibly vernacular for ‘How?’

James Charlton

Additional Info

  • Free Article Yes
  • Custom Article Title 'Scatomancer' by James Charlton | States of Poetry Tasmania - Series Two
  • Contents Category States of Poetry - Poems

There is speech everywhere:
the inaudible conversation of orchids;
the quiet breathings of ironbark forest.

Birds bring energy from the sky.
A bronzewing murmurs a low OM.
She intones the OM alone, as we all must,

and clatters when she takes leave.
The OM attunes itself to inner ears;
the unfathomable OM
of the living, the dead, the light itself.

Black coffee of a still pool.
Mossies busy themselves.
Full blaze of Spring.

Crows do not announce their cleverness,
but caw with desolate caw.
So many throats precede our own.

This morning, scratchy intonations
of a butcherbird, still learning its name.

James Charlton

Additional Info

  • Free Article Yes
  • Custom Article Title 'So Many Throats' by James Charlton | States of Poetry Tasmania - Series Two
  • Contents Category States of Poetry - Poems

James CharltonJames Charlton graduated from the University of Tasmania, and from Flinders University and the University of Cambridge. He was Poetry Editor of Island magazine and Advisory Editor for Australasia of Chautauqua Literary Journal, published in upstate New York. Charlton earned his PhD from the University of Tasmania and his MA from the University of Cambridge. He is a poet and theological writer with an interest in transformative spiritual knowledge and experience, across traditions. His latest book, from Bloomsbury Publishing, is Non-dualism in Eckhart, Julian of Norwich and Traherne (2012).

Poems

'So Many Throats'

'Scatomancer'

'This'

'Wonder'

'Choir Practice'

Additional Info

  • Free Article Yes
  • Custom Article Title About James Charlton | States of Poetry TAS - Series Two
  • Contents Category States of Poetry - Poets
  • Custom Highlight Text

    James Charlton graduated from the University of Tasmania, and from Flinders University and the University of Cambridge. He was Poetry Editor of Island magazine and Advisory Editor for Australasia of Chautauqua Literary Journal, published in upstate New York. Charlton earned his PhD from the University of Tasmania ...