Inspired by ‘In the Garden’, a poetry collection by
Miriel Lenore about the Adelaide Botanic Garden.
‘Beauty is the promise of happiness’, whispers Stendhal
as I sit on the bench created by Khai Liew
in loving memory of John KK Ho.
Before me a grassy bank sweeps away
to the sacred lotus flowers of Nelumbo Pond.
An enormous Ficus prasinicarpa on my left.
Behind the pond, two layers of greenery.
The first bright-leafed, luminous,
and rising above it
dark-trunked towering pines.
A line of ducks
like Ducks on Dawn Patrol
or perhaps off on a picnic,
Another comes to investigate me,
angling for the food I’m not allowed to give it.
In this place
Larson’s Anatidaephobia ‒
“The fear that somehow, somewhere, a duck
is watching you” –
is not a fear, it’s a fact.
Sitting on his bench,
I float the question.
‘So, waddaya think John,
is this beautiful?’
He just goes on being happy
and doesn’t reply.
Russ Talbot lives in Adelaide. A Poet’s Corner contributor since its ‘Independent Weekly’ print days, he discovered the pleasure of writing after suffering an acquired brain injury (ABI) as the result of a brain tumour. He has had poems published in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and US, and in 2015 Ginninderra Press published his poetry chapbook collection ‘Things That Make Your Heart Beat’ through its Picaro Poets series.
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This article is supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.