There is someone we could ask but they left
Early this morning to beat traffic. We heard gears
Groaning, classifying what type of sound and evidence
To expect as the garage door closed. We are asleep
On the second last page of a book
Slightly aroused, slightly hung-over, slightly dreaming
That we can push the chrome fender of a truck
Up a cold pass at night without collapsing,
Even when an old man in a nice suit comes
Out from a truck stop and lowers our mood –
‘You think you don’t know but you do, son’–
For hours he keeps on. We will notice soon
What they noticed behind the rocks
Of sandstone, the birch saplings in a crack
Between railroad ties before the real dawn:
That is, the birds, they are silent.
There is a dry pile of sand
Tire tracks have run through in the bent
Sky over Sydney, over every major and minor
City, longing to be glass. We turn lichen,
Stay hidden, holding hands against eyes …
Then Abraham rose from beside his dead wife.
Bowing, he asked the Hittites, If you are willing
To let me bury my dead … Well, what did we expect?
His beloved, Sarah, one-hundred and twenty-
Seven years old, laughing Sarah, sister Sarah, left
Him finally after all this time and he wept,
Embraced her and wept.
About the Poem
Citizens of Australia are currently being asked to consider a constitutional change called, The Voice. Later this year, we will be expected to vote as to whether we agree or disagree to sanction a special, unelected, advisory board that will represent the Indigenous people when Federal policy decisions are made. We have had no clear, thoughtful, government leadership on the details and possible ramifications of such a change. Almost everyone I speak with knows little or not enough to really make an informed decision.
This poem is no answer. I am a poet, not a political analyst. It grew in me as I was thinking about this impending decision and I honoured it with my attention.
About the Author
Glenn McPherson is a Sydney-based poet and teacher. He has been widely published in Australian Journals and Anthologies. In 2022, he was featured in the Newcastle Prize and ACU Poetry Prize Anthology, and was published in the Best of Australian Poetry 2022. In 2023, he was a finalist in the Gwen Harwood Poetry Competition and Shortlisted for the South Coast Writers Poetry Prize; published in Topical Poetry Journal, and InDaily/Poets Corner