Illawarra Wandering

By Luke Patterson

14 March, 2022

This work is interactive and best experienced on a desktop.


I invite you to navigate this poem in a curvilinear fashion. Read left to right, right to left, top to bottom, outside to in and back again. Let verbs become nouns and nouns disappear into the wilderness.

Music can be heard here. Please adjust your sound. The text reveals an audio archive of field recordings and looped soundbites. Click underlined words to orchestrate your own urban bushland symphony. Sound loops will refresh as you move through each segment of the poem.

•   •   •

city undressed      our      first ballad affinity
mapped      traced      sequenced      life heard
rising      we say      Eora      to earth
a naturism      whose sky      welcomes
lingoed council      circumference      draped
pitch      cicada hootenanny      heat our poultice
longing distance      love act      entangled
song line      imagined      connects both us
lifetimes      idyllic outstretched      wings follow
cloud passing      rivers      guide      home




old gods      play here      living aloud      our
quietly grooved      warmth      over      sovereign
sunsoaked      hearts      setting      adrift      we     
farewell      botany bay      hoodling wink
we      kiss fire      seasons swept      air lips
between inhuman      voices      gently held     
each other      green in every      sense affiliate
we take in      all tone      textured     histories
as believers     our blood thickened     banksia
scars heal     we’re renewing     untethered
a new     day     an old     name     porous





illawarra passerine     manna epithet     sloping
scribble gum         postcards         strange
spirit lit     talc sediments     crest     sand stone
through law     flows     below     islands
of sweet         clay bed     sleep         rocking
limb bends     that perfect     cut     strength
wood borne     memory         we carve
clappies     for the kids     weave     basket
for the bubs     protect other     ripples
you spoke     deep fibres     florets     rainbow
us     fullas visiting     see faces     in this ridge





following shallow     salving     streamlets
taking turns     splash and clarity     bubbles
fountainous in each     footprint     for you
I scribe     the  notes     you photograph
lorikeet     boisterous squawk and seedbound
myth     making     our eye     filling bellies
with firepassing     inspect     each     stone
left unopened     a chest of     bark story fed
necters in     anticipation     in the cool     crevices
whose burning     reveals sweet earth
wet     becoming cool         charcoal scented
a word     in the soil     possessed reminds
we need         to rekindle         our safe
conduct         through         this territory





grass trees      utter      primordial airs turned
sun dipped      whispers      through root filter
unfold fungi      system      springs turf eyes
in this salt      faired      harbour have you
heard curlews      have      returned their travels
carrying our      wild      life wandering fingers
entwined twilight      flowing      my love wave
shimmer over the      crest      hallowed horizon
where tongues we      let     go languid tilt
we hum      together      unison drift without sail






hot nightfall      pressed      air sky brewing
suspended      star strings      unwind deliverance
electric      light as      we stand ankle      deep in
tears in earth      rot      and leaf mush
our clapsticks      striking long      time depth
synchronous breath ripple      and the malaluaca
     councils      shudder ground and      water
sweeping      moon eyed      clearness






we take our      bow mend      this hallowed
meeting place seeking      alluvium      solutions
    sip      underflows      quenching      throats
with song      old as ice      ages erupt
for the fish      gods mercurial      ephemera
bubbling free      bodied enlivened      we tread
     head above      the deep      green
sub-heavens and bask      in our   own power