Sunday, September 04, 2005

After three days of spring

the summer moves in. The temperature is nudging towards 30º C, the air is humid, the corrugated iron roof makes noises like drops of rain falling on it as it expands in the heat, dark clouds blow in from the sea.

The “official” seasons in Australia were decided by bureaucrats. Ignored the exquinoxes, the solstices, paid no attention to the knowledge that the original inhabitants of the land had garnered over 60,000 years. Instead, just like financial quarters, the seasons start on the 1st of the month.

So, in this time of what I shall call sprummering, it seems like a nice idea to post a poem on the subject & what lies behind it that I wrote a couple of years ago.

Terra Nullius

December 1. Supposedly
the day on which the
season changed. Some-
one's arbitrary determination
after they had shifted
hemispheres & found
their world turned
upside down. A quick fix,
rendering the present
so it reflects a
particular past, done by
attaching the familiar
to the unfamiliar &
throwing names around
to overwrite the
land. Fine at the time,
but pets rearrange
themselves as pest to
overrun it. New grains
don't hold the soil together
the way the native grasses
used to do. & where the
traditional owners of the land
sometimes admitted six,
sometimes two, depending
upon what the weather
was actually doing, now
the seasons come around
on the first of the month,
every three months, a
regular reminder of the
debts outstanding on
something that was
taken, never loaned.

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