Austral Bluebells in Molonglo Gorge

Alan Gould

Milky blue asteroids, little atolls of sky,
they appear to have no yesterdays,

but lean from the leaf-litter on their thin wires.
Beside the walking track I come at them,

each with its breathtaking integrity;
cryptic, irresistible like the clues to paradise.

I walk on, wanting more, more, these pentacles
of inexpressible blue, drifts of them, gifts of them.

For it is a flawless afternoon in March
which, with unnerving simplicity, seems to ask

How are you here
now time has freed you from your outsets?

I look around myself, preparing an answer,
but the track, scribbling between the trees,

has lost the prospect of a destination.
Across the gorge the railway line

is silent with aeons of disuse,
its cuttings brambled, its power-poles askew.

Black cypress pines in sorcerers' headgear
absorb the summer winds and turn them green,

the stringybarks dishevel themselves-
grey rope matting gashed with sorrel,

while far below, the shale-brown Molonglo
tumbles to its own applause.

And so I answer- Yes, I came,
but left, perhaps, the old way of remembering,

walking thus into the sidereal
which is these woods, groundlitwith bluebells.

And the history I believe in now will tell
how this morning, minutes before the sunrise,

the east shattered and blew away inland,
littering the world with these stelliform tessera,

these blue Pleiades, rare in their everywhere.
For this, also is the story of the world.

And if I walk on, I'm also staying
like one accepting hypnosis; to stare,

journeying deeply into the idea of blueness
until it haunts like a memory of rapture,

and I will return to what I knew,
looking back, as the visionary looks back always

to catch in the commonplace of his years
momentary glimpses of some celestial once.