Paradise losing

Le paradis n’est pas artificiel,
but melting and fermenting, it seems.
The panting, perishing white lemuroid
possum can’t get enough water,
can’t cool her febrile body,
drops from the canopy of a thousand-year-old tree,
in a white whoosh of rushing light.

Le paradis n’est pas artificiel,
but unpredictable, these days.
Short-tailed shearwaters cruise southward,
but their fruitless fishing for squid
during this too-hot November,
leaves them knackered, and the shore-break delivers
them to us, as they give up the ghost.

Le paradis n’est pas artificiel,
but becoming simpler, no doubt.
The great blue homeland acidifies
and corrodes its little calcite prawns,
absorbs them, with a sigh, into the same soup
that sloshes over the coral beds,
turning them a general algal brown.

Georgina Woods

is an activist and poet working and living on Awabakal and Worimi land in Newcastle, Australia. An earlier version of this essay was shortlisted for the 2016 Nature Writing Prize.

More by Georgina Woods ›

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