Almanac Poetry: ‘These Shifting Greys’ – Tommy Mallet



These Shifting Greys


The helicopters aren’t flying this week,
winter’s too strong.


I’m sent by foot
over the mountain to the cape,
with a lopper and chainsaw
to widen the overgrown track.

It takes an hour to reach the plateau,
4kms long,
a table-top held together by 200 metre dolomite cliffs,


sideways coastal shrubs and Shea oak,
surrounded by rock islands and bays.


The small winter lake at its head
is full of midden,
hunting knives, bones,
from where the Aboriginals trapped animals
using the cliffs.


A violent ocean stretches out below,
an endless, rolling, muddy green,


stitched together by white caps,
roamed by rain bands grazing
on a cold, white sun.


Each one looks small


until rising over the ridge,
consuming the air,
flooding it wet.


Pale light clusters and blurs,
the wind hurts.
There’s still about three kilometres


of rock to lift off


the track.


30 years out here,


places like here,


my body’s slowly breaking,
but there’s no Plan B.


“Come on,” I whisper to myself,
in this heaven,
attacking hard,
to get it done.




More from Tommy Mallet can be read HERE



More poetry from Almanac Poetry can be read HERE


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