Saturday, January 14, 2017

Anna Couani Glebe poem #2 wetlands

now I live on the rolling hills
above what was once a vast wetlands
Glebe Point, a gentle protuberance
into the harbour
like a swelling breast
not a peninsula like Balmain or Pyrmont

we found old bottles when we dug
relics from early invasion days

walking on that strange flatness
of Ultimo from the water to Broadway
always seemed wrong
reclaimed land, not just stolen
but abundant fishing land
appropriated, changed, destroyed
to accommodate massive wool stores

and the tidal canal
once putrid with industrial waste
from tanning factories
now fish nursery
as we stand on the bridge
watch the mullet swarming
and around the waterfront
a million fry
and oysters now a prolific cover on the rocks

so the polluted waters 
that once killed a prawning family
in Rozelle Bay
must be keeping their poisons a dark secret
quiet for now
at the bottom of the harbour 


  1. In this brief space, your Sydney narrative grows organically, poetry chimes, a natural and water-side urban discriptive history rolls on so nicely into the gritty realist last stanza and (comically) ironic final exit line. I really like this piece Anna :)

  2. Thanks Jeffree, I'm planning to rewrite these as prose so together they become a kind of history, essay type of thing.

  3. I'm happy with the idea you might rewrite these as prose pieces and I'm looking forward to reading them, just because, to my understanding, this is already "un poème en prose" , no need for lines and breaks here, at least the way I look at it ... I may be wrong ...

  4. When reading 'wetlands' my initial impression was how it created space and dimension for me, and again the lovely movement through time and landscape. Wow - the end - and wonderful phrase - 'bottom of the harbour' takes us deep deep.

  5. I guess "bottom of the harbour" has a particular Australian meaning.