O let them ... | Julie Maclean

O let them be left, wildness and wet—


a line from Inversnaid—Gerard Manley Hopkins


I am trying to keep my head 
but today elegies of   
belugas retrieved from 
Arctic floes

           sand bags over a crashing dam

quietly designed 

           to stem the rage

of winter on the wane


So             what to do about puddle clay 

short-lived lichen      the grey heron
nesting on terminal moraine in full stop

           the general thrusting


How to mourn 

           drowned mountains

drowned spires visible only
            at low tide

           bells tolling intermittently   

across the North Sea                          / summoning/


Last century               /it surprises me to say/
my girlfriend’s nightdress catches fire
                                                    /unlike a kingfisher/

her sculpted skin       pink and glistening makes
new topographies neck to knee
                                She lifts her face away


           What it takes 
           to keep the head above

                      rivers of mud  


           The way it is   
oceans collide in terraced homes    along sea roads

                     at the summit of high peaks


                     leaving             a souvenir tree         

           disposable hearth                 /from Ikea/

                     exposed bones on the south face

                     of men and women in boots like Mallory   







Julie Maclean's poems, short fiction and reviews have appeared in The Best Australian Poetry (UQP), Poetry (Chicago), Southerly, Island, Overland and The Age, among others. Her full collection, When I Saw Jimi was shortlisted for The Crashaw Prize (Salt) and went on to win the Geoff Stevens Poetry Prize, (Indigo Dreams, UK). www.juliemacleanwriter.com.

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