Autumn day

A bright day, but a cold day,
Wind gusting thought and memory
Across the continent, and away
Across the world. My thoughts
Are not my thoughts but given,
Only, I may misspeak them.

Sibelius’s Lemminkäinen dies
In Tuonela, with snarling brass.
Warplanes passing low,
Scatter currawongs and magpies
From the front-yard, squabbles
Forgotten in panic flight.

A hundred and sixty years since
These valleys were taken – thoughts
Of war on the wind, wars before
And since. Perhaps we have only been
Practising. The grass shivers:
‘Soon the real wars begin.’

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

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John Leonard is a Canberra-based poet and author most recently of Braided Lands. His website is jleonard.net.

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