We stooped to cross the threshold carrying evening
on our shoulders
and shadow curved the corners and the walls
around a muted light.
A simmering dark sauce breathed out a lure
of something richly meat.
We took our seats along a wooden bench
quietly close as frogmouths.
Knitted into family there we watched
the sorcery of our hostess
as she sliced the orange folds of mushroom
into her steaming brew.
A scatter of herbs unlike the ones we knew
an airborne twist of pungency
a waft into our faces from the moist-lipped pot
mutterings and laughter from the cook
erupting like incantations as she worked.
We hungry travellers
our eyes still inward turned to images
of tumbled banks of streams
of rocky bones that jut from hips of hills
and wide bird-circling sky
sat in a net of drugging fragrance
roped by it to the hearth
as the day’s wild lands morphed into a fairy place
of black cooking pots and beams
a rustic table wreathed in forest scents
a crouch of inner space
and on the faces of my children as they ate
a liquid shine of broth
– the ecstasy of taste in paradise.
Cottage at Avoca
A wooden floor and a wooden balcony
suspended over a jubilation of birdsong…
We sit there on scrubbed pine furniture
and let the cool air wash us down
an inertia of summer weighing on our limbs.
Paralysed by pleasure we watch our hostess
take cups glasses and bottles of drinks
from the tidy banks of pigeon holes.
A high and constant rasping of cicadas
fills late afternoon with an oddly even static
behind the trilling and the piping of the birds.
The overcast brightness promises heat
and then withdraws the offer.
Gusts of olfactory delight garlic basil rosemary
ride the evening change
along with the ubiquitous sent of citronella.
—About the Author—
Frances Daggar Roberts is an Australian poet who grew up in a remote area where she began to write poetry to capture the love she felt for plants, animals and landscape.
She now lives in a bushland setting close to Sydney and works as a psychologist treating significant anxiety and depression. Compassion for those who struggle with such issues has led to the frequent exploration, in her more recent poetry, of human need, sorrow and resilience.