When early in the morning the Bridgewater Jerry
throws its veil of thick grey organdie over the Derwent,
dusk espouses dawn.
Confetti of day break is spread over the valley
and silvery sequins of frosted dew glitter on the ground.
The synod of bishops gathered around the cross,
on top of St Joseph Church have disappeared.
The cenotaph is hardly visible but, in its erection,
becomes a nascent miniature Eiffel Tower.
In fog all is possible. Sur le Pont d’Avignon
on y danse, on y danse, sur le pont d’Avignon
on y danse tous en rond. Sur le pont de Tasman…
I drive through this canal of rebirth and second chances.
I want to stop right there. I pine for the sweet perfumes
of the velvet lilac and red roses of my childhood garden.
I want to close my eyes. Je ne regrette rien
but yet, I wish I could return to my birthplace
with Edith Piaf, Johnny Halliday and Serge Gainsbourg.
The ghosts of the drowned sailors linger.
Their souls call out but no one responds.
I too am silent and I refuse to accept
the cups of death they proffer me.
The pall of life falls on the bridge.
Worlds mingle. Lascaux-creatures painted by Aboriginal hands.
Deformed Chernobyl babies still to be born say no
to Pierre and Marie Curie’s discoveries.
Kafka’s insect-like characters with heavy legs and fat bellies
lick the Royal jelly. Couples walk toward me and fade away.
La Madonna of Mexico stands like the Virgin Mary,
hands joined together in a prayer.
A garland of red chilies and green leaves
gives her protection. She smiles at me.
Dreamtime fazes out.
The numbers on the clock flicker these enacted moments
and the habits of space and time lie bare in the country of fog.
© Christiane Conesa-Bostock
Tasmanian Times Poetry Editor.
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