States of Poetry 2016 - TAS | 'The insistence of now' by Jane Williams

The insistence of now


An almost-noir chill day in the cemetery.

A service just finishing, no one I knew.
I walk the line - observer/interloper,
drawn to incongruities, ambiguities.

The way graveside life teems - regardless,
causal. A priest walks by swinging
his thurible, black robes, black puffer jacket.

A child forages tidbits from a mother’s pocket.

An intermittent breeze flaps
the canary yellow tie of a mourner
becomes a metaphor: identity, freedom,
inarticulate love.

The mountaintop an expo of spring snow.

A ginger cat plays hide-and-go-seek
with patches of light and shadow and

Daisies cover names and dates insisting now.

A pine tree severed to its stump, the fresh
cut scent intoxicating and guilt-ridden
as any pheromone.

Amoung the rows of marble and granite
a stop-red For Sale sign advertising
its vacant plot
three tiers, a mobile phone number.

All this cordoning off, alphabetizing
unsustainable degrees of separation.

Beneath our feet the herculean ants carry on.

Above us plovers swoop miss swoop again.

In the rising bark of bitzer dogs all our unchecked
daydreams off lead, indistinguishable, giving chase ...

Jane Williams

Jane Williams

Jane Williams

Jane Williams’s poems have been published widely since the early 1990s. She is the author of five collections of poems and one of short stories. Her most recent book is Days Like These: New and selected poems. Awards for her poetry include the Anne Elder Award, the D.J. O’Hearn Memorial Fellowship, and the Bruce Dawe Prize. She has read her poetry in several countries including United States, Ireland, Malaysia, Czech Republic, and Slovakia. While best known for her poetry, she enjoys writing in a variety of forms, combining photography and creative writing and collaborating with other artists. She has a Masters of Creative Writing from the University of Canberra and coedits the online literary and arts journal Communion with her partner Ralph Wessman.

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