Carolyn van Langenberg

Carolyn van Langenberg is the author of the novels fish lips, the teetotaller’s wake, blue moon and sibyl’s stories (Indra Publishing).  In 2000,  fish lips was short-listed for the David T K Wong Fellowship, East Anglia University, UK. After many years of writing prose, she has returned to poetry, recently publishing on the net and print journals like Shearsman (UK), Cordite, Aesthetica (UK), Antipodes (USA), Staples, Macau writing and Poetando. She is co-poet with  Shé Hawke of the chapbook tender muse (Picaro Press, 2007).



The Tricky Light
Coles Bay, Tasmania

i) At Freycinet National Park
unusually bathed in sunshine
how I stood on the rough path
above the still composition

–aquamarine fastness,
ochre rocks and rubble,
brown tussocks bristling up
sand like pale, crushed shells.

Time stopped where my heel sank.
When I pointed my camera,
how I clicked the shutter on beauty.
Or was it breath taken away.

ii) Home with holiday snaps
how I studied the nature pics –
white banksias  and orange moss
under whisked shadow of flight,

wingspan wide across sunned air –
then her face staring, straight
hair pinned off broad forehead,
hand shielding eyes from glare,

dressed in a calico pinny, black smock,
body wedged between rocks and grass
below the high-tide line of the cared-for shore
fetched up in conjuring gold.

(for Leonie)

White saucer snagged in reeds
gleamed under watery green
for the slide of long-fingered curiosity
to fit with story and cup.

A mouthful of sky empty of nothing,
it leads an unremarkable life,
no name to lose in riversand,
no dream to hold in mud.

Vanished for years without a word,
the flooding currents of the river
sank unwritten history
at the bend near the big red house

where the date palm widened midday shade
and pink begonias flushed the lawn, the favoured spot
for the clean-up blitz when orange flames licked
waste paper, empty tins, cracked saucers.

Dumped, eventually, in the back of a boat
with scavenged things, it found
a mismatched cup, but no cloth spread
over the roots of  a sprawling tree,

no table set for afternoon tea.
An oar knocked silence. The saucer trembled.
A cow with its tail frisked flies from its back.
And a spoonful of sunshine slipped upstream.