Everywoman by Colleen Keating


The Walk

after the  deluge 
the track was heavy  hard-going 
shoes muddied  bogs to be side-stepped 
yet there was grace in the morning walk

light was breaking
through unzipped clouds 
making the bush smile
 a thousand welcoming smiles
 dazzling  and  bright eyed  

a slow waltz shimmered through leaves 
vibrant red gums  stood friendly sentinels 
mossy rocks verdantly green
palms washed clean 

i leant against the familiar trunk of a gumtree
reassured by its sturdy cool presence  
a shadow crossed my path
i looked up –
a yellow-crested cockatoo 

ferns caught my eye  dripping with dew
 as tears 

 * * *

they are walking too today
along cold corridors 
on frozen earth
they can’t hurry although it’s urgent 
a matter of life and death 

they are pressed 
no time for a last glance back
their homes their precious things
surrendered  for  desecration

the air cries silently
for their wounded homeland 
they are slow 
burdened with babies children elders pets 
 no comfort of saucepans tea pots  books music

 a shadow crosses their path
they cower  huddle  whimper

 * * * 

she is walking now
not like me
she is walking for her life 
and the life of her child
her track is short to safety
but it ‘s not 
she sees a welcome sign just ahead
but she doesn’t      let us imagine
people welcoming her with warm soup  hot bread
reassured by soldiers like sentinels 
many who reach out to help

let someone kind ease her burden
let smiling eyes greet her 
tired  and sad 
and give her shelter

when a shadow crosses her path
let her and her child be safe
and its noise not exacerbate her fear

her words i cannot decipher 
but i understand the language
she is  everywoman