17. a poem that involves a plan
Whenever the heat beat
the fight out of even
the toughest grevillea, or
the tanks groaned and screamed
with the effort of drawing water
from a sluggish River Murray,
Dad's watercolour dream
of the school's front garden
provided an alternate universe
of desire, delicious sweetness.
I remember particularly
the large leaf-green lawn.
There were to be cheerful
flower beds, natives and hardy
immigrants bonding in rich
alluvial soils, creating
with entwined arms a perfect
picture of future generations -
sturdy growth, producing beauty
for the common good.
There was sunshine in this plan
but it was gentle, fresh after rain,
lemony-gold. One thing left out:
a fountain healing the pain
for the garden that never
was realized, the world
that grew spiky and dry,
the resentful children crouching
on its hard clods, pulling stubborn
weeds under a blinding white sky.