I don’t believe there’s anyone up there watching over me and when I go out on a mountain backroad in the soft summer morning of a day like this I could die right there in a fraction of time when the planets line up against me when stars and the moon see fit to bother the fragile air and I can’t stop it that moment when I hit the tree in my flight is all that’s left in the universe and nobody is there to say I have a plan for you and it’s good because you know it isn’t good there is no good or bad or evil in the end I lie on the angel-white sheets of the gurney ventilated and massaged in a desperate bid to retrieve the spark that fluttered upward the song of the wind tugs at memories that vibrate on the one remaining string of the bow the light of the sun and moon and stars bursts dangerous through the stillness of the upper air probing the dark place where I hide from all I never knew no fear disturbs the final exhalation it is the end
The Royal Gala died here Red Delicious struggled Eureka lemon withered figs wooden for lack of juice and the single almond dropped off premmie in despair it’s the barren earth I said clay-hard and cracked in summer sun no goodness no green thumb
my granny’s thumb was green it was over-large angled oddly but for all that it was green that thumb tended roses into violent crimson and velvet white from chocolate-cake-earth in Shanklin garden
when we moved to London that thumb came with us tending another flush of roses hydrangeas pink and blue geraniums heavy with musk purple lavender that smelled like soap and like mother’s clothes in the wardrobe in another world
when we travelled south so far south that mariners feared the edge we found a red earth in a land where rain swelled rivers beyond the rim banana persimmon and papaya blasted out of the earth unbidden and the arthritic angled thumb could rest.
Now again we try fifty years to the day since we landed on this shore Adelaide Hills Facing with its rocks and its stones and forty degree days we search again for Gran’s green thumb in our children and theirs but they laugh without mirth at the death of earth
There’s a special place where I sit each morning while darkness shrouds the valley view when winter makes the clocks run slow and me and I see the crescent moon of a new cycle the monthly cycle that grows and wanes and grows again like a woman’s life a life I’ll never know and the darned shame of it all but it’s OK I tell me there’s good in everything every whim and chance that determines how we go an end in every new beginning in the poems people tell to calm their fears as they wait as I wait with a little patience wandering what the hell is going on and how come I’m cast adrift between the moon and the dark valley view?
While no one is looking
What do I do when no one’s there to see it makes me blush to say it I talk to things and people animals and plants complain and grumble and make jokes no one laughs at except me I sing and mutter through the silly things I do explore places just because I can challenge myself to go just that bit too hard and in the moving movie scene I tear up like a girl and don’t dare wipe my eyes for fear someone sees when it’s only me to see and blush I eat one too many chocolates burp when I eat or drink too much too fast when bubbles get up my nose or winter cold I sneeze and sneeze and wrap myself in blankets to get me through it and I waste too many crossword minutes while scoffing muesli down at dawn and read just another page before I go about the day and think of far too many other things to do before I get to write the book that waits so patient in the corner of my mind I think I’m bad a wanton woman no good at all and blush at the thought
Stephanie Russell started writing poetry when she transitioned to female. This was after having written short stories, fiction and non-fiction, for many years. Now she tends to write poetry more and more. As for publishing her works, she has had a few pieces published, but is only now making a serious effort to get her work into print.
Stephanie comes from a diverse background, ranging from careers in physics and astronomy, to researching indigenous resilience to climate change, modelling honey-bee lifecycles, and counselling and psychotherapy. These aspects of her life experience, and her passion for sports and travel, lend some peculiar viewpoints to her writing.