Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Old Churches

Like scaly frill-necked lizards sitting on a rock, old churches assemble themselves in bush retreats. Weathered and sacrificial, things have flown off: pigeons in the belfry, the roof of the outhouse. They tug at the years like a bell-rope, even the spiders have run out of larvae and moth. The stained windows have stories with lead beading, blues and greens, the colour of eyes that once dipped in prayer. The front door bolts open on wooden pews that line the walls. Ceilings creep upward in silent communion. Porcelain hands like the soft robes of Jesus reach across a domed fresco from Bethlehem to Nazareth. You discern the old settlers were here by their marble tablets, paintings by the Dutch school. The winds have passed through these buildings, coursing leaves and the aroma of earth. In daylight a wagtail or wren will veer suddenly overhead from an open window, tap at water rusted in its turn. When darkness settles on rocks and stones, old churches shrug back into themselves, back into their timber rafters that squeak a thousand Amens. Only horses on the hillside, listening to the charms of trees, will trickle past in ones and twos, find greener pastures under the shade of a plane tree; where once restless girls studied Psalms and the Book of Matthew, and grew up to ride horses, saddled on the hillside.


Absolutely thrilled to receive news just before Christmas.  This poem is now published in Eureka Street Journal, Vol 22 #24 . Check out the journal and other poems @ http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=34650

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Published by Australian Poetry Centre, Melbourne

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Helen Hagemann's first literary collection, Evangelyne & other poems, was published by the Australian Poetry Centre in their New Poets Series 2009. She has two e-books, The Joyous Lake & Par écrit: poetry of the feminine @ http://issuu.com/evangelyne/​​docs/joyous_lake/

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