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    Poem: “World Within”

    By Stephen Edgar

    January 3, 2023
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    Cattai Wetlands

    You walk a zone of woodland, dense
    And shadow-fretted, a slow arc,
    And, you imagine, a circumference
    Of she-oak, paperbark,

    That must eventually complete
    Its promise, an unbroken ring,
    Surrounding? You proceed on unrushed feet,
    Watching and listening.

    But no. You happen on a break,
    From which, unsigned, a pathway leads,
    Right-angled to the course you thought to take,
    To water grasses, reeds,

    And falling open, like the gap
    Within the fabric of the world
    Mystics bear witness to, though on no map,
    Before your eyes unfurled,

    A lake of waterlilies, spread
    At the day’s heart, to keep the day.
    The floating light of noon, distributed
    And clinging to delay

    What used to pass for time, makes clear
    The shallows at your feet, and adds
    Lustres that intermittently appear
    Among the lily pads.

    A fantail seems to pause and flare,
    A rufous snapshot on the sky,
    And like a jewel fastened to midair,
    Hovers a dragonfly.

    Watching the light stretched membrane-still,
    Midday on hold, you acquiesce,
    And feel a—what?—an empty presence fill
    Your unclaimed consciousness.

    Black swans in languid ones and twos
    Continually patrol their realm,
    Like stewards, bending down to strain the ooze
    Or from the surface film

    Skim slime and delicately sift
    Blown smuts of matter that begrime
    The sheen, as though the air in tainted drift
    Shed the rank spores of time.


    Find more poems by Stephen Edgar here and here, and read an interview with the poet.

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    Cattai Wetlands. Photograph by Václav Mach.

    Contributed By portrait of Stephen Edgar Stephen Edgar

    Australian-born poet Stephen Edgar studied Classics and librarianship at the University of Tasmania and lived in London, Great Britain, and Hobart, Australia, before settling in Sydney.

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