Some have given over much
to its narrow lanes, no through roads
and blind alleys; leading to

obfuscation, obscurity, scandal
and surprise. With the odour
of old family Bibles on their breath

and yellowed small scraps of classified
newsprint from Births, Deaths and
; all that remains of a life

clouding their eyes. Climbing back
on dark branches to a cairn of stones
a ruined chapel or lost parish register,

the smell of old damp cupboards
on their clothes. Trying to trace
connections in moth-eaten years

to a shield or crest that might
emblazon the present with meaning
or purpose; too late the future

already lost in the archives
of ourselves. The genealogy
of broken glass jars of artificial roses

on the graveyards of the past, digging
backwards, downwards
disinterring all that is left of us.

More poetry by Jeff Guess

Bibaringa Winter