States of Poetry 2016 - Western Australia | ‘West Coast’ by Barbara Temperton

I drive in on Daylight Saving Time
with a pale, fat moon rising
over the Moresby Ranges.
New subdivision: Ocean Heights Estate?
It looks like Sandcastle Land.

Foreshore dunes
limestone-terraced into sharp ledges:
high-priced real estate
perched at weed-wreathed ocean edge
awaiting global warming.

Blowouts hibernate
beneath a skin of Papier-mâché
seeded with sunflowers,
native pelargonium, alien grasses.
Feral pines adorn the verges, neatly
supplanting saltbush, acacia.

Roundabout windrowed by sand
directs me to my soon-to-be street.
An adult date palm, transplanted like me –
gale-force sea-breeze flaying
its skirt of fronds – inclines toward the land,
acquiescing like the sand
to the so one-sided, the so-insistent wind.

In the near distance,
waves thrash about in the shallows.
Big dogs surf the trays
of 4-wheel drives heading home
from the 4-wheel savaged beach.

In the front yard of my new rental,
two stray ridgebacks are too cock-legged busy
pissing on green reticulation flags
to acknowledge my arrival.


Barbara Temperton


Barbara Temperton

Barbara Temperton

Barbara Temperton finds inspiration in the diverse landscapes and stories of Western Australia. Her poetry has received awards and is published in newspapers, journals, and anthologies. Going Feral, her first solo collection, won the 2002 WA Premier’s Book Award for Poetry. In 2007, Barbara completed an MA in English (UWA) ­under the supervision of the distinguished poet and academic Dennis Haskell. Fremantle Press published her MA project as Southern Edge: three stories in verse in 2009. Barbara was Westerly magazine’s poetry editorial advisor from 2009 to 2011. Ghost Nets is her work in progress.

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