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Monthly Verse

These clouds that cap the world

Overland Track, Tasmania – Day 1

We set out, climbing towards the tight lid of clouds,
our whole week hanging from our collarbones.
This land casts at our feet its indifference to time,
unfurling like an old carpet, ragged and enormous.
We are superimposed here, stepping into an epic,
trees glowing in wet light, the sky flat as an ironed sheet.
Everything is so magnificent it feels ridiculous, like words
in the mouth of Dorothy Parker. This is beauty beyond
necessity, the way it usually is, but on its own terms,
the golden mean redundant and symmetry just a neat idea.

For seven days we will walk, each carrying our own burden
of what we think we need, our sweat and aching joints.
We tread the silvered vertebrae of the track
one foot after the other, learning the bleakness
of repetition. The sky drops on our heads,
fog enfolding us in silence and cold. Ahead,
I watch my lover’s shape dissolve then reappear
fiercer than ever, like love over time. I draw endurance
from my aquifer and keep on through this weather
that has nowhere better to be, striding among
these clouds that cap the world, my hair netting sky.

by Rachael Mead


Rachel Mead

Rachael Mead is a South Australian poet. She has been published in literary journals in Australia and internationally and is the author of three poetry collections: Sliding Down the Belly of the World (Wakefield Press 2012), The Sixth Creek (Picaro Press 2013) and The Quiet Blue World (Garron Publishing 2015).

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