Australian Wild Violet


For Sister Michaela

I wonder why you choose to grow
within restricting walls
when you once seeded
half way round the world;
why trade the explosion
of Australian spring
for creeping colours
on a frosty lawn
bright petals bruised to brown;

why barefoot your companions sit
tip-toes on cold stone
and sing in rows their fragrance
to a two-branched tree,
where flickering lilies
on pale virgin stems
light a painted arch of sky,
songs and silences ignored
by all the birds you love.

You could have spread your colours
in dusty aisles of bush,
all summer basked beneath
a burning sky,
dipped roots in pools
of eucalyptus shade:
but you chose a garden whose mystery
grows beyond my grasp.

No bread nor wine, for me.


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