The tenets or tenants of Sweeney

for MH

And so … to rouse a whip, coral or corral or currach
like coracle branded hide singed hair no modifier
no not really to live by said decisive akubra mirage

weaving tufts caught by spinifex bluebush bash-
grab influence as testament of flaying, clothes-hanger
slaughter-hook made allowances for under the Act.

Tenancy is much more than tendency, to round
up a leisurely quote, a jerk of conscience wavering
towards some other matter, a duty, a flippancy, a soak.

And so … farmer, occupant, dishes out the what’s what,
signature chastisement as boy mimics father remade
in bush fire-brigade imagery. Burnings. Roo-shoot spotlight.

Cyclops. Down in the valley they rove. Such holdings.
Little give-aways. Persona of compass, here’s a navigator.

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

Subscribe | Renew | Donate November 9–16 to support progressive literary culture for another year – and for the chance to win magnificent prizes!

John Kinsella’s most recent books of poetry include Drowning in Wheat: Selected Poems (Picador, 2016) and Graphology 1995–2005 (Five Islands Press, 2016). He is a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge University and Professor of Literature and Sustainability at Curtin University.

More by