From `Swamp Poems’

From `Swamp Poems’ – Poem

Andrew Taylor

From `Swamp Poems’


Thought moves over the surface

of a windless reach

like the birth of a breath

here where water thickens with intention

and the inattention

of tides

I glide within a mirror

of attendant trees

egrets placing fastidious feet

and sitting-down ducks

comfortable as pets

yet out of reach

in a secret stretch

of this river stranger

than the shopping mall

outlandishly near

but out of sight

tiny fish


water dimples

thoughts under stillness


The pelicans are folded down

like camping equipment

balanced as though any shift of breeze

might topple them

from their overloaded roost.

But when a vertical

and capacious yawn

opens among them

the pied cormorant on a nearby bough

shuffles theatrically

while the swamp water

silent as ever

becomes a little silenter.


Swamp is in love with rain

but the rain this swamp remembers

fell in a rolling world of granite

and parched uplands

nine months ago


brackish tides bring jellyfish

that bob like bumpy parachutes

higher and higher upriver

and if I’m lucky the submarine

purposive reconnaissance

of a dolphin

inspects and respects me

It will rain again soon in the hills

and the swamp will cool and freshen

its water clear and darken

and salt flush back to the sea

But today’s rain

gilt-tied with flashes of sunlight

titivating the melaleucas

and swamp grass and eucalypts

has only a pretty

and endearing uselessness

Andrew Taylor teaches at Edith Cowan University in Perth. His two most recent books of poetry are The Stone Threshold: New and Selected Poems and Gotterdammerung Cafe (University of Queensland Press, 2001).

COPYRIGHT 2001 Fairleigh Dickinson University

COPYRIGHT 2001 Gale Group