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Books & Poetry

Poem: The Mountain Road

Books & Poetry

In this week’s Poet’s Corner, Nicholas Perkins shares thoughts on a road trip interrupted.

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The Mountain Road

(two city bureaucrats visiting a small country school)

We take the mountain road,
between fire and flood.
A hop-scotch of pot holes
shows the way (and lack of time for road fixing).

I hit it hard.
Twisted wheel
hurtles steel,
we slide
into the bush side.

Outside now,
the car’s pneumatic wheeze
punctures all our plans.
A crow sits on a branch nearby:
Caarr! Caarrk! Carked it!
Thanks, friend.

Children’s laughter
rains from a tree-house platform,
forest playground.
They disappear.

A little commune school’s principal arrives.
Children introduce themselves
with Tolkien names,
and sit us down
for cups of tea, orange and almond cake.

The principal sets to work
with a 12-year-old boy
replacing wheel.
Sleeves rolled,
they chuckle, jeer
the threadless spare
more suited to a wheelbarrow.
We eat and sip
notes of rubber and summer’s tar-melt on the nose.

Their hand-made mud chock
collapses just on time.
Did it! they cry.
The crow is not so kind:
Phaarr! Phaarrk! Pharked!

Nicholas Perkins lives in Sydney. He works in education and has been a primary school principal, with a background that also crosses the arts, neuroscience and behavioural ecology. Poetry and music combined are further important areas of personal meaning-making.

Readers’ original and unpublished poems of up to 40 lines can be emailed, with postal address, to Submissions should be in the body of the email, not as attachments. A poetry book will be awarded to each accepted contributor.


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