Poem: A flock of artists descend on Warren Gorge


For today The poets’ corner contribution, Sharon Foulkes draws her inspiration from the visitors who flock to be nourished by beauty, outside.

A herd of artists descend on Warren Gorge

Flinders Ranges, South Australia

Here, a drought breaks out.

From their well-kept gardens,
their empty nests,
their boxes piled up
they felt it –
the mysterious call to take flight.

And now the throat is teeming with life.

Drive slowly around the corner
where suddenly great walls rise
like ancient volumes on a giant’s shelf
weathered and overgrown.

You will recognize them by their plumage,
brighter than the common winter motorhome:
orange pants, indigo jackets, vermilion,
hat or scarf in cobalt blue.

Here in the deepest stillness
you might spot them –
nestled near rocks and bushes by the stream,
or perched on folding chairs –
busy scratching in sketchbooks
or peck their pallets.

They came to feed on beauty, outside.

Arbor bird vampire,
their eager eyes seek out vibrant hues:
purple in the shadows,
bark of silver, sky of sapphire.

While others, distant cousins
of the lyre bird perhaps,
mix their greens and grays and ochres
until their webs sing true.

Wonder ax in the crack and crevice texture,
spirits fly from twisted trees and
firmly anchored in the impossible.

Maybe these seeds they bring back
will find a fertile crack in the concrete.

Their bus driver, meanwhile –
one hour of “constant twitter”
still ringing in his head –
put a chair under a lonely tree
and read a book, in peace.

Sharon Foulkes, living in Whyalla since 1989, is a relief teacher based at the primary school in the town of Whyalla. His poems have appeared in Whyalla Writers Group / Port Augusta Writers, as well as in several other Australian journals and anthologies. She won the 2017 Tom Black Memorial Award from the Eyre Writers Group and was a recipient of the Friendly Street Poets Poem of the Month. Her first collection, “Finding Their Voices”, was one of three published in Friendly Street’s “New Poets 20” in 2019. More details about Sharon and her work can be found here.

Original and unpublished poems from readers up to 40 lines can be sent by email, with postal address, to [email protected] Submissions should appear in the body of the email, not as attachments. A book of poetry will be given to each accepted contributor.

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