No more for me the sounds of shopping trolleys.
Gone the grass parrot’s songs of joy,
their upside down feeding in the branches outside
a dance that woke hope in my eyes.
Left behind, too, the beatitudes of Bronte pool,
its oceanic liquids that silenced chattering voices.
If Banjo Patterson’s Clancy of the Overflow went a drovin’
to take the stock to feed and water where he could find it for them,
If what was left was still there after Clancy’d gone,
What then for Clancy where he went?
Banjo said of Clancy, ‘the drover’s life has pleasures that the townsfolk never know”.
So, Clancy, was it like that?
Just the sight of stock cared for at your hands,
your feet in the stirrups, your eyes looking on?
Did solitude come with that?
Like Clancy, I’m from the Lachlan river, too, the ‘overflow’.
But I’ll be drovin’ up at the Equator.
Where every evening the horizon lights red over the sea,
The sun bent to blood by the conjunction of angle, dust and distance,
(another place of overflow we might say).
I wonder, what would Clancy have done,
have seen, have felt had he gone to the tropics?
No horse, no stock to nurture.
That’s the thing about drovin’ as I remember the bits of it when on my kid’s horse.
It’s not so much the stock as the movement of it.
Drovin’ carries you into the unknown.
Like a church liturgy can carry you to solitude.
You watch the stock moving among the trees, the new bends in the road.
Tho’ you move, you settle.
You, horse, horse steps and new things coming into view.
You find rhythm, which can be enough,
can be solitude’s embrace.
One way of standing in the world is to sit in the saddle,
feel connected to your horse, and go on.
Maybe that’s why, going on even to the tropics as I am now,
no stock route there, I feel the lightest I’ve been.
If the solitudinous Leonard Cohen could be alone 10,000 nights
and lovely song could come of it,
Why not any of us who . . .
seeking solitude – could we not find some song there, too?
I’ll carry the parrots with me,
and my shadow, and who knows what else.
That’ll have to do.
I do wonder, tho’, about Clancy in the tropics.
From Friday 24 August to February 2013 I am on leave. During this time, please note:
o House tours: contact – Jess or Skye – firstname.lastname@example.org
o Enquiries about my books, Sustainable House or Sustainable Food – contact my publicist, Debbie McInnes: email@example.com
o Contact me at my blog here only: www.sustainablehouse.com….au - not email