Sonnet (writer’s week in Adelaide, 2006)

I am sitting in different shadows. Chairs are the roots of trees,
the white tents a nest of words and creation.
I am listening to the sound and face of vowels.
Names and authors are beings of the image world.

Stories of lands, struggles, deaths,
beauty and ugliness an equal part of the journey.
Foreign sounds are rare birds under native trees.
A kookaburra sings to the wind and the heat of the evening.
Yahia Al-Samawy reads his poem in Arabic:
‘Leave my country –
The helmet of occupiers can never be a pigeon’s nest’.

I am listening to the rhythm of hearts next to a tree.
I am listening to Robert Fisk’s flesh, wounded lines,
Baghdad and Gaza his home, ancient cities
without rivers, only dried dreams of the oppressors.