Hobart 4 pm, mid-winter
The shore foams with industrial outwash:
where Lieutenant Hunter disembarked,
pebbles are rimmed by rainbowed water.
In the distance, a corner of the river's mouth
grips the Iron Pot Lighthouse, which clocks on,
as we watch, to lick the ocean.
On waving slopes of weeds, plovers fuss over precedence,
like Freemasons. Lieutenant Hunter brought thistle seed
in a reliquary; supervised the landing of a satchel
of dandelion fluff.
Perhaps he also brought blackberry seeds, baskets
of starlings, blackbirds and sparrows. Rabbits, maybe,
in wickerwork crates. Tucked up with his luggage,
sweet briar cuttings and canisters of gorse.
Scrub once grew close to the river's edge;
children once played in the dunes.
More poetry by James Charlton
Reviews of James Charlton's poetry
Anne Kellas, reviewing Luminous Bodies
David Kelly, reviewing So Much Light
(and Stephen Edgar's History of the Day)