Friday, February 10, 2012

I Wish I'd Written This


From Wolvi Mountain
by Peter Doyle

The mountain is an island
in a sea of morning mist.

Alone in the universe;
the only sound my footsteps
and my breaths hanging in air.

From Wolvi Mountain walking
early to the bean fields
to bend my back
and fill my bags
as many as I can.

Slowly, slowly,
stand up straight again…

A breed apart
those harvest workers
Old Keith, Edna and the rest
travellers, misfits, rogues and just plain mad
or pensioners earning
a “little something” on the side.

I am there with them again
working through the heat and rain
sitting down for smoko
in the field
beneath a tree
kicking at the cane toads
that hop onto my bare feet.

Living hard, but free.

No desk or office walls
no factory sirens
no metaphorical machine to feed
just the tractor going by
hauling beans up to the shed.

Some would say cheap labour
making the farmer rich.

I know who is richer for it.


I met Peter Doyle online on MySpace in the days when that was still a great place to be. Nowadays we connect on facebook, where we are in various poetry groups and Peter also posts his poems in his Notes. So far we haven't met in person, though he knows my area and has a standing invitation to call in for a cuppa if he's ever up this way.

Peter’s an unashamedly devout Christian who believes in bearing witness, and I’m an ‘out of the broom closet’ Pagan, yet we’re good mates with some similar points of view. For instance we both love the natural world, and we both have a deep appreciation of the good qualities to be found in human beings. As I was brought up in a Christian country, I have no trouble understanding his Biblical references. Even our ideas of God have some surprising similarities, despite the obvious fundamental differences. 

I think he’s a wonderful poet. Naturally those of his poems I most wish I’d written tend to be more the nature poems and humanist ones — though I am sure he would say that they too bear witness to the the greatness of God, and I have no argument with that. In the piece I've chosen here, I relish his message about the satisfaction of honest toil.

He says, ‘I am essentially message driven, and happy for the art to suffer for the sake of the message, hence I get a bit preachy at times.’ His preaching is very palatable though, and the art doesn’t seem to suffer much — certainly not in this poem!

Unfortunately he is only online at facebook and MySpace. (He continues to post on MySpace for those of his readers who are still there). He doesn’t yet have any books out, either. He says any Aussies who happen to live at Port Macquarie can hear him at times on Rhema Radio, but that’s not much good to the rest of us. It might be worth joining facebook, folks! If you’re there already, his url is https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001913136560 — and do look out for another of my favourites, 'Here I am' posted on Saturday 28 January, an overtly Christian poem from an unusual point of view.

(Apologies if this was late, people — I get mixed up about the time difference, sometimes.)



Poems and photos used in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ remain the property of the copyright holders (usually their authors).

3 comments:

  1. He is very talented, so glad you shared him with us Rosemary! We are richer, for it ;D

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  2. Rosemary... thanks for the honour, and the friendship, virtual maybe, but real all the same. : )

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