Summer Grasses, Strathalbyn
After an oil painting of the same name by David Dridan at the Stationmasters Museum, Strathalbyn.
Yellow streaks and white dots
in a frame, a large frame
to hold fields in check, fields
of dry grass, endless to a summer
horizon and heat that shimmers
up through stalks – bent, twisted,
stalks – each as fine as a golden strand
of hair, yet dense in a breeze-filled dance
across canvas. A five thousand dollar
gyration of oil-painted stalks offset by a tree,
a dead tree where two crows perch
on gnarled grey branches,
ominous but for the light
of a powder-blue sky.
To stare is to discover hidden grass seeds,
those that bury themselves deep, ever deeper
into a dog’s ear or crawl in the jumper
your nana knitted that you wear
only in places you won’t be seen.
The seeds get into shoes too, and socks,
prickly, pricklier than in the painting
which is tantalisingly benign
yet holds a story, my story of lost love
and a man who wanted to build his fortress
in such a landscape, on open grassland –
almost wasteland – trees dead or dying,
ringed by a fence of limestone rocks
piled in the irregular pattern
of invading settlers.
Lindy Warrell is a publican’s daughter, anthropologist, meditation teacher, aspiring novelist and poet. She writes of the bush, the beach, city life, random moments and disturbing things. Her first chapbook ‘Ol’ Girl Can Drive’ was published in 2017 by Ginninderra Press in its Picaro Poets Series. Her second entitled ‘Soft Toys for Grown-ups’ was published in 2018 as No. 75 in Ginninderra’s Pocket Poets Series. Her last week’s poem inspired by the visual arts can be found here. Now living in the seaside suburb of Glenelg, she is working on a second novel.