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 above 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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