The Cartographer

The cartographer
saw the vastness of landscape
and rendered it knowable.
Transformed terrain
to elevations, angles,
contour line etchings
and watercourse filigree.

The cartographer
used his raptor vision
to view conflict as landscape,
charting paths through
political quicksand,
over bureaucratic dunes
to the ocean of truth.

The cartographer,
now guided not guiding,
his acute compass
dizzied by Alzheimer’s.
Piercing the fog,
he cedes, all pauses and sighs,
“I’ve lost the path”.

Melbourne Marching

blusters with threats of winter
but falls back to summer leftovers,
flavours as raucous as yesterday’s fruit salad.
Workplaces finally cede holiday torpor and,
the ante upped, your pulse spikes
at the realisation the year is almost a quarter gone.
As the cherry tomatoes cheer their last,
and the passionfruit scrambles toward last shards of sun,
that manuscript alchemy remains elusive
and the house needs another lick of paint.
Acorns clatter, parents mutter
the kids are a term down, pedagogically unchallenged,
living from one YouTube hit to the next.
Medical clinics plug proactive flu shots,
figs fall on forgotten bluestone lanes
and any footy fan can believe their team
might make the last weekend in September.


Photograph of a bright ‘supermoon’ looks a little like a spaceship swooping

The angels arrived like stealth bombers, sweeping each suburb, each street, each home.

#Rapture trended immediately on Twitter, as fundamentalists claimed their moment of triumph had arrived.

All Theo knew for sure was that these angels had nothing in common with those he’d learned about in Sunday School. He heard the screams, saw flames flare and knew there’d be no inner calm, no glow of divine love accompanying visitation.

A practical man, he didn’t see any point cowering beneath a blanket or bracing himself in a doorway. This wasn’t an earthquake or wildfire. It was an Act of God no insurance company ever envisaged.

So he strolled, barefoot, out into the summer night. Stepped off the gutter and onto the warm bitumen. Wriggled his toes on the rough surface. Watched and waited.

In the instant his angel swooped, he understood. They weren’t messengers. They were auditors, celestial census collectors. And pest controllers.

The angel scanned his soul and it was like immersion in an arctic sea. He was aware his ledger, his personal balance of good versus evil, was under assessment.

Then he was kneeling on the road, not in praise but simple gratitude. He stood, slowly. Inhaled and savored the air entering his lungs. His skin tingled. He wondered who else had survived.

He knew the angels would be back in a few hundred years. And that no one would remember they’d been before.