Seventy-two Seasons

By Vita Forest

In the gardens of Konchi-In

We learn that there are not four seasons

There are seventy-two

And right now

At this very moment

We are in the season

Where the flat leaves of the lily pads in the pond

turn to yellow and brown

 

Walk the same paths

Watch the same scenes

With eyes open

 

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The acorn

By Vita Forest

On that first day

In the gardens of the Imperial Palace

(In the part that you can visit

If you are ordinary

And not royal)

Lucy found an acorn on the pathway

Gleaming in the rain

We looked around but could not see

Totoro

Perhaps he was atop one of the lush leafy trees

That dripped rain onto the soft grass

and the beds of thickly-planted iris

Perhaps he still had his wide black umbrella

And did not need our smaller paler shelters

Translucent as raindrops

Forest sprite

By Vita Forest

One day,

While focusing on where

I placed my feet

Amongst the rough uneven rocks

And crawling roots of ancient cherry trees

On the slopes of the Kumano Kodo,

I heard behind me the sound of a

Strider

Fast approaching

Heels ringing on stone.

I glanced behind me

And met

The eyes of a small boy

Who blinked and passed me by

Without a word

Continuing on at the same fast clip

He favoured,

Up around the corner and

Sailing out of sight

Amongst the trees

While I continued slow and crablike

Testing the moss between the rocks

With my pole and two-pronged stick

Finding the firmest way.

And I wondered

Had I imagined him?

This small child

improbably alone

Was he a forest sprite?

floating through the forest

with such confidence?

But later

At a lookout

I saw him again

Swinging his legs

as he munched on a snack

and looked out

At the mountains that receded

in layers

Far into the distance

He sat apart from the

weary walkers resting beneath a shelter

He sat and ate and looked

and waited

His face splitting into a grin

When the rest of his family

Finally

Caught up.

He had proven his point

He was as fast

As the wind.

Domain concert

By Vita Forest

Remember hanging upside down

sweat blooming behind our knees

hair a trailing shadow flame

hands trailing the ground in surrender?

The fig leaves have heavy bodies

Snap when you bend them

snap and spray

They have solid reliable edges

Like the bats

journeying above us

black umbrellas darting  over

pink seashell sky

I lie back on the picnic blanket

and watch them as fireworks glitter overhead

and ants get drunk

in forgotten gulps of champagne

There’s a poem in that

By Vita Forest

There’s a poem in

The way we hate vegemite

And the way others don’t

The excuses she makes for missing

every single meeting

The vibrating cat that sits perched on my lap

Like a humming loaf

The scarlet red of the flowers on the coral tree and

the way they fall apart if you remove them from the tree

The smiling girl in the photo who just last week

tried to kill herself

The rock that you step over on the path

In the shape of a heart

The shriek as we leap the channel surging back to the sea

And land heavy-heeled in the retreating water

The light patter of rain

On the hood of my new black raincoat

The bowl full of  shells

That sits in the middle of the table.

Poems

everywhere.

Blue Gum (for Lucy)

By Vita Forest

Where you enter

we heard

The angry screeches of white cockatoos

Glimpsed white flashes wheeling in the blue sky

above the silver-trunked treetops

Watched as they swung around and about and around again

As we descended into green shade

You may hear the sound of six species of frogs

And we did

or at least we heard one

singing its percussive scraping

as we picked our way beside the creek

over mossy rocks and

fretted roots aslant

under the lacy shelters of tree ferns

Continue straight to where a track comes in from the left

and follow the blue wren

It was the blue wren that showed us the way

The hop of the wren along the dried spikes of grass

The scratch of the bush turkey in the undergrowth

And down in a dappled gully

A warbling chorus of currawongs

Across the bridge, stop for lunch

Sitting cross-legged by the river and

pinching a peck of grated carrot

on a smattering of grated beetroot

laid on the soft spongy whiteness of

the halved baguette piled with shards of

cheese and khaki rounds of

pickles and leaves of

lettuce and slivers of

translucent cucumber closed between

the covers of two golden crusts

and two rows of teeth.

At the first junction

Walking past the facilities and

missing the ghostly W

that means the girls enter

at the door marked OMEN and

Return to the start of the walk.

Shelly Beach

By Vita Forest

Lying on the surface

While striped fish streak through my fingers

And white rays shimmy down into the sand

And kelp wrings forwards and back on the tide

Hiding and revealing the groper

And its widening and shrinking jaw

Leaning on the wooden rail

While heavy clouds squat on the horizon

And the sky loses itself in the sea

And the procession of paddlers follow the leader

Tracing a curve around the shoreline

And swerve to avoid the snorkelers engrossed in the sights below.