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From Night of Warehouses by Stephen Oliver

The Woolshed

I came upon it by a clough in the
hill, an involuntary turn upland, wheels
holding to the rub of an old bullock
track, by backblock and tableland,

to unminded paddocks. A kennel whiff
of the grease-curled fleece, flumped
on long benches in a low-slung woolshed,
the fangled wool press fallen into

wrack and ruin, the dust, grease coated
floor planks. A sense of something slowly
tossed aside. And wind, the sound
rusty and hollow, breathed down the chute to
an empty holding pen, thickened with
dockweed, purpled in Paterson's curse.

Emblem for Dead Youth

There are no experts only survivors

Over the past five years in the Great South Land,
a primary dissipation of energies - 2,500 youth suicides,
in fact. We pause to consider this phenomenon:

2,500 small white crosses neat as napkins laid
out in geometric patterns upon the parliamentary turf
sweeping up to the Big House. Small white crosses,
abstract as wing-nuts or butterflies, each one pinned

to the yellow grass lapel though, hauntingly, branded
onto the mind's dumb hide. With each grief-prone parent,
pain inflates safe as an air-bag. Small towns out back
spin to emptiness. Moonrise is a chalk outline after the

going down of the sun. Stars swing bright herds into the
dark corrals. There's movement at the station; a murmuring
engine through woodland, sky velocity blue as gun-metal.

© Stephen Oliver























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