To celebrate our 75th birthday, we’re presenting exceptional works from Meanjin’s past that have defined and challenged Australian literary culture.
After three days of wind pounding the midriff of hills
and nights of dry lightning fracturing the sky
into the crazing of old porcelain it was no surprise
when it came. In five minutes a towering cauliflower
was spilling white curds, froth and tumultuous blossom,
a fractal coolly replicating from a moment
that was now far below, with birds
like flakes of soot tossed in its turbulence,
their cries plangent and scattering, and consumed.
Driving beneath into that apricot-soft light
was like being inside an evangelist’s blimp:
a dome of chapel stillness, except for little flames
at the hem like small faces sneaking entry under.
For a moment there was a benign peace
as is said of those hazy, uncertain states:
the womb, anaesthesia, drowning.
We think we know silence, it is our blue Pacific:
the refrigerated, drained, arrhythmical kind,
and the cupped, hill-to-hill kind, with a dog’s bark
or the crack of a breaking branch to give it scale.
This was something else—dense and pressing,
even in that beguiling peace,
vast and lonely as the space that clears
the moment before judgement.
Meanjin Volume 72 Issue 1 2013
The full Meanjin archive can be accessed at www.informit.com.au/meanjinbackfiles