Moving the Darkness

By Freddy Iryss
SplaTT/Creative Commons



                                                      on the balcony, I see

                                                    the grooves of white tiles

                                               blackened by the settling smoke,

                                            a lonely flower spider hanging

                                        on a leafless plant.


                                       Alpine bog skink burrowing

                                           its tiny body into the hollow of a log.

                                                 Yellow dots on black skin,

                                                      indistinguishable from the embers

                                                  on charred gums –

                                           the corroboree frog, unlike koalas,

                               too small for screens.


       The fires, rolling in

    over fire trucks and under water planes

some at the fire’s tail,

some at the fire’s mouth

   fighting for life

      from day roads, dark as night,

          from night roads, bright orange red


                    And from the air thick with nanoparticles

                        of houses, skin, bones and fur;

                             all falling onto those who are watching

                              from their blackening houses, still standing

                          with burning eyes, throats and lungs

                    smallest pieces of those gone up in smoke

            slipping from my lungs into the bloodstream.


 Black cockatoos flying over trees,

that – for days – are smouldering,

  burning from the inside;

     dunnarts hiding under rocks, in soil cracks

         – survival in numbers or as numbers?

               Snakes, wombats, wallabies drinking side by side

                   from rivulets; run offs from a firehose


                           Bogs, fens, meadows and heath – small universes

                                charred lifeless, black apocalypse to each

                                    How long for,

                                         soar the billowing fire columns into the sky,

                                           creating their own weather – thunder, lightning and

                             not enough rain

                       to smother the flames


                Licking out of the screens,

            into the living rooms

         not enough rain

         to wash the sky from smoke; the bush from death.

              Wildlife no longer on the move

                 Waiting – in the crevices of the hollow log

                     That is our emergency



                            And then nothing…


Review – Renewal: Five Paths to a Fairer Australia

By Georgia Cerni

Sophie Cousins’ book Renewal: Five Paths to a Fairer Australia is, in many respects, a proposal. For Cousins, the COVID-19 pandemic has provided Australians with an opportunity to reconsider the ways our society currently functions. Cousins aptly makes her case – while in some ways the pandemic reinforced burgeoning inequalities, it also presented us the chance to apply collectivist values to solve systemic problems.