Diane Fahey – Sojourn at Bundanon

Diane Fahey LE Poetry & Writing October 2017

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Tankas by Diane Fahey

Diane Fahey is the author of twelve poetry collections, most recently A House by the River. A new collection, November Journal, is forthcoming from Whitmore Press in late 2017. She has received various awards and fellowships for her poetry, and has undertaken residencies in Venice and at Hawthornden Castle, the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Cill Rialaig, Varuna and Bundanon. She holds a PhD in Creative Writing from UWS. Her website: dianefaheypoet.com 

Sojourn at Bundanon
At Bundanon Artists’ and Writers’ Retreat, NSW


Galahs by the path
to meet me; the spiked welcome
of friarbirds in
silky oaks circling the house.
River, stone hills, bush, waiting.

The Writer’s Cottage

Swallows at my door.
From the tin roof’s finial
a songbird taking
the long view. A dung carpet
leads to the wombat’s cellar.

Midnight visit

The wombat, quashing
a would-be suitor, wallops
her ceiling, my floor.
The house rocks; night birds scream.
Fun, or scary? I check the boards.


At 5 a.m. 

Two kangaroos graze
my lawn. The fields are swathes of
moss. The hills lie in
the oneness of darkness, still.
Only the birds’ voices shine.

Eucalypt, early morning  

I walk down the trunk’s
shadow, in which mine is lost,
out through branches, crown:
my shape travels the lit stones;
the road curves back into dusk.

Hillside sun

Its full glare finds you
through the scatter of bloodwoods,
ironbarks; lanterns
high crowns. Starbursts of copper,
taupe, new green, glint from dead fronds.


Boulders sit high on
hills – plinths for offerings to
gods; god-presences
themselves, coded with grey scale,
sprigs, seed-pockets, ivied lips.


I fear a bushfire;
then, above the tree-feathered
ridges, livid red
yields to life-colours – saffron,
peach, blood orange: day’s last gift.


even here, can be
something you have to search out.
Or it comes at you
like heat from the plain; coolness
blowing down from dusk gullies.


6 a.m. 

It moves – yes, bear-like –
grazes the cattle-cropped field,
scratches killer-flanks
touched by sun, retires into
its cool maze through an earth-scar.


Dotted like smooth rocks
over the plain, they chew moss,
dig roots with steel claws.
One sinks through a gap, trailing
a puff of smoke, its brown ghost.

The slithering ones  

have so far not crossed
my path. This forked staff tapping
the hard earth, feels like
a divining rod; heat lifts
from the road. It’s time we met.

Hot Walk

The bullocks slurping,
cold-eyed; a lagoon of cows
in shade; the tree snake
and bower bird out of sight – but
the small flies love me, love me.

© Diane Fahey