June 8th, 2020Local Lines : Voluntary Service 1990
Voluntary Service 1990
Eighteen seagulls stand gawking
where yesterday we sat,
questions and myths about duty
prickly as the dry grass.
As I approach, the birds turn their backs,
disperse, perhaps nervous
of the artist’s intense gaze.
Or aware there’s no food in those hands.
One seagull limps.
Sometimes, during these three days
when I have touched my face,
the skin felt smoother, cleansed.
The others say they too feel
to face whatever’s next.
They have given me words
that flew from my pen, sprang
onto paper, sometimes colliding,
other times rolling into
I watch how the butterfly dares,
jitters around lawnspray’s sweeping arm swing,
avoids being drenched, leaps
through the damp air, as erratic
as my thoughts.
The butterfly works with water
without having to dive or swim.
I work with listening.
Red flowers, young men, common birds
pecking at the bases of tree trunks.
One woman on a seat, reading.
An elderly woman screws up her eyes
resisting sun. How open you must be
to let it in. How courageous,
to hold your face up, willing.
– Jennie Fraine
Jennie Fraine moved west of Melbourne (to Bacchus Marsh and then Ballarat) from the eastern side back in 2004 and has never regretted it. She is a prolific poet and the poem here was written when she had hired herself out as an “On-the-Spot Poet”, her business then was called Poetic Licence.
Poems for Local Lines come predominantly from a group of poets. However, other locals who would like a poem considered for publication can contact Bill Wootton – firstname.lastname@example.org