Published in Overland Issue 210 Autumn 2013 · Uncategorized Augury? Luke Fischer Samothraki, Greece 1 I’m not sure if I’m following a trail left by goats or on the human path as I attempt to circumvent the farmstead where, the last time I came near, a dog pursued me, snapping and snarling. Noticing the piles of rusting junk dispersed around the place I wonder whether there’s a law requiring that at least one crackpot live in each secluded region on the planet; as if these thoughts had given them their cue two dogs begin to howl. This circumstance— embracing pungent wafts of goat shit—stirs somehow recurrent doubts about the art of poetry, its prospects in our time and apprehensions personal in nature... 2 Traversing the hip of the mountain, still unsure if I’m on the path but no longer caring I bend under the low branch of a sycamore enter a clearing of green and rusty ferns when a call like a foghorn sounds directly above Arp, uup Lifting my head I see two black birds with wings outstretched arcing more smoothly than figure skaters away from then towards each other Their fingers almost touch as they pass and arc out again I follow the fluent sequences in the impromptu choreography the transformation of lemniscates they draw on bright blue paper leaving an even lighter trace than the fine inscription of blades in ice At regular intervals, arp, arp the same bird gently repeats as if to say, take notice, this is important though I doubt the utterance is aimed at me... 3 While wishing I could have observed them longer and had taken fewer notes they return, now from the west No, this pair is fairer and converses in meow-like squeals though they arc as smoothly as the black birds Joined by a third they easily wind their way high over the valley whistling in alternation And I wonder, after all, if it’s not possible to speak winged words to converse, if only with a few that far above the valley 4 After following another goat trail I scramble over rocks to glimpse a waterfall and losing the way back descend the hillside with the path in sight and I’m not making this up or sure what it means but the first pair of birds return from behind the mountain dart over my head and down into the valley They’re talking to each other now and take turns to flip upside down, flash their breasts to the sky and far swifter than stunt planes flip over again... The Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize for New and Emerging Poets is made possible by the support of the Malcolm Robertson Foundation. Luke Fischer Luke Fischer is the winner of the 2012 Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize for New and Emerging Poets. His poems have appeared in Antipodes, Cordite, ISLE, Mascara, Meanjin, Snorkel, and Newcastle Poetry Prize Anthology. He has held academic positions in the US and Germany, and in 2008 received a PhD in philosophy from the University of Sydney. He is currently completing his first collection of poems. More by Luke Fischer › Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays First published in Overland Issue 228 27 September 2023 · Sport When the sport circus comes on Country Jenny Fraser The next huckster in the carnival of sport is the upcoming 2032 Brisbane Olympic Games. If we want aspects of it to be in line with Aboriginal protocol, we need action from across the four winds of the world. If it’s not done right we need solidarity and protest just the same. We are each other’s safety net in this theatre of sport. As a senior Aboriginal woman activist once told me, ‘we are all only as good as we negotiate’. First published in Overland Issue 228 25 September 202326 September 2023 · The university Solidarity but only among managers, or the future of the university sector Hannah Forsyth The process continued during Covid. Jobs were being cut due to the threats posed by the pandemic, yet more scholars were being recruited. Nice people, good at their job. But why are we doing this, we kept asking. Management kept telling us we have a funding crisis (which often turned to a surplus in the end), so why are we also on a hiring spree? All along it looked like it could end badly, for all of us.