Posted in Australia, Climate Change, Haiku, poetry

Spirits of this place

Hiding away from the spirit of progress,
fleeing the bulldozers ripping away the holiday spirit
(old weatherboard houses nestled in the scrub
lazy summer days walking barefoot in the sand)
the ancient spirits hover in remnant bushland,
fenced off, enclosed and hard to access,
(sweet and feminine beside the blue bays,
fae pranksters in the Moonah trees
wise old grandmothers whirling in the grass trees).

Spewing out of the cities
in a rush and roar of conquest
come urban escapees in SUVs.
Cranes line the cliff tops
postmodern pastiches proliferate,
simulacra of the McMansions
the urban escapees spewed out of.

Retreat with us, the old spirits whisper.
Come away with us now
deep into this ancient land.
Feel the strength of it
in distances stretching
on and on into something other.

My heart longs to ride out on the wind
but no, today is not the day
when I take to the roads again.
One day I will let the spirits
carry me out into the soul lands
but now, contained and restricted,
I tramp down a muddy track
to sit where the grass trees grow.

A moment’s reprieve
just as I hear the spirits whispering,
a jogger in lycra pounds by then
an avid birdwatcher dripping cameras
appears. My connection shatters.

Back home in my garden hideaway
the old ash tree loses its autumn leaves.
A species from another land
finding a place here in Oz
bringing in archetypal energies
– the ash tree as the Tree of Life.

The traffic on the highway roars,
the construction next door deafens yet
every night now when they sleep, I hear
the Southern Ocean snarling at the shore.
Behind the postmodern pastiches,
the simulacra of the progress spirit,
another spirit gathers force.
Inexorable and undeniable,
the world shifts on its axis.
The spirit of climate change
gathers momentum.

Moonah trees behind a fence blocking an old track to the shore

For this week’s challenge, write about the spirit(s) of place where you live and have your being in. What is the biological description of your home? How does living in a biogregion change the contours and boundaries of your day? In what places is the spirit of place most resonant for you, and where it is most faint? What is the deep voice of assurance it offers? Can it be channeled in an earth poem? And how do we carry the spirit of place forward into a drastically changing Earth?”


I'm an artist and a writer living by the coast in southern Oz.

15 thoughts on “Spirits of this place

  1. You think it’s a stretch writing a response to these prompts, try writing them … My environs is much like yours, greatly spoiled by human presence and our zeal to own (and pave) paradise. If anything, I find a line of sight in responses like yours. It’s never easy, but as you say, “Behind the postmodern pastiches, / the simulacra of the progress spirit, / another spirit gathers force.” Whatever brought human dominance this far, it dies strangling the world. We can find another line of sight. Thanks so.


    1. I can see your point about writing the prompts. I have to say though they are best blog prompts I’ve come across in a long time. You really get beneath the surface of the current state of the planet. Your comment ‘Whatever brought human dominance this far, it dies strangling the world.’ sums up how I feel on one level at present – particularly when I’m out the driving around the area (something I have had to do a lot of this year). I also spend a lot time searching for that other line of sight.


  2. (sweet and feminine beside the blue bays,
    fae pranksters in the Moonah trees
    wise old grandmothers whirling in the grass trees) — Sounds to me like you are very in touch with how and when you are in touch with those spirits! Your poem explores this. It could have a part two, three, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Its interesting that you say the poem needs a part 2 and even 3. This morning in my meditation I got an inkling that the spirits here have more to say. 🙂


  3. I love the old spirits calling people into the ancient lands……..”the soul lands” – how beautiful! Your photos show an extremely beautiful place. I love the name “Moonah”.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I appreciate the images and feelings evoked by these words, Suzanne. I also am disturbed by development that wipes out the essence of a place and overlays it with just those things we need less of–noise, plastic, identical landscaping.
    I’m glad you respond to the Earthweal prompts. I can’t seem to summon the creative energy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Audrey. I read the Earthweal prompts every Monday when they come and tell myself I have nothing to say to them. They work on me during the week and I find do have things to say after all. After I’ve posted I read the other responses to the prompts and think my attempts are a poor excuse for poetry. The prompts do give me a chance to collect my thoughts together in some semblance of verse though and so far, touch wood, no one has told me my poems aren’t good enough to link to Earthweal. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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