Pick-a-Poem: “Botany”

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Welcome, folks, to another Pick-a-Poem post! Each week, we feature a new poem here on the Jet Fuel Review blog. These poems come from a really awesome site called Poetry Daily, which features a new poem every day and has tons of new material for you to read and discover. This week we’re featuring Botany by Sarah Holland-Batt.

According to her bio page, Sarah Holland-Batt is an Australian poet who has won numerous awards. Her first book, Aria, won the Arts ACT Judith Wright Award and was shortlisted for the New South Wales Premier’s Kenneth Slessor Prize. She is also the recipient of the WG Walker Memorial Fulbright Scholarship and an Australia Council Literature Residency. She is currently lecturing in Creative Writing at the Queensland University of Technology.

Botany by Sarah Holland-Batt

After the rain, we went out in pairs
to hunt the caps that budded at night:
wet handfuls of waxtips and widows,
lawyer’s wigs, a double-ringed yellow.

We shook them out onto gridded sheets,
the girls more careful than the boys,
pencilled notes on their size and shape,
then levelled a wood-press over their heads.

Overnight, they dropped scatter patterns
in dot-and-dash, spindles and asterisks
that stained the page with smoky rings,
blush and blot, coal-dust blooms.

In that slow black snow of spores
I saw a woodcut winter cart and horse
careen off course, the dull crash
of iron and ash, wheels unravelling.

All day, a smell of loam hung overhead.
We bent like clairvoyants at our desks
trying to divine the message left
in all those little deaths, the dark, childless stars.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s featured poem. For more of these posts, click here!

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

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