James Walton

James Walton was a librarian, a farm labourer, a cattle breeder, and mostly a public sector union official. He is published in many anthologies, journals, and newspapers. He has been shortlisted for the ACU National Literature Prize, the MPU International Prize, and the James Tate Prize. His poetry collections include The Leviathan’s Apprentice, Walking Through Fences, and Unstill Mosaics (forthcoming). He is now old enough to be almost invisible. He lives in Australia.

Twelve megawatts to evening                                                                        

a fox so cruel

in its beautiful unmercy

where black swans

trawl beyond mine shaft warnings

a mob of grey roos

languid as a marinade

scratch at rear thighs

old gardeners resting

on a cushioning rake

the wind turbines

obelisks in need of a Pharaoh

sift the sky for a language

only written in stone

at the end of the trail

all this thirsting water

the hospital air ambulance

skims a stitching reverberation

on the mid-winter tide

this is a place to lie down

between shaking centuries

let something run away with me

into a chiaroscuro frame

I will be your open city    

a hail ashore

not a mirage of inklings

a gate always open

beneath a white pennant

surrender yourself

here the fountain knows no age

sit down by the brickwork

later I will bring out a towel

wipe away these days

I’ll read your quiet palm

trace the drifting lines back

find your watermark at source

write your name by dipped finger

see how it shines then departs

from these momentary lapses

how soon the sun and moon merge

in an overlapping circumference

another day of lives waits

outside of forgotten sanctuary

above its wing beat compass

a kestrel squawks of wandering

remember the smell of bread

the tired tread to be ahead

of too many willing souls

soon a dark regretfulness

will slow to the fall of a leaf

each side in equal shadow

there are no answers

there are no secrets

we are all a passage here