Sunday, 22 March 2009

fitzroy crossings

it's a country full of criss-crossing travel lines

with tracks visible and not so visible

of all those who wander back and forth

two days into a 5 day stint

i'm sittting at a window overlooking Albert Street

just down from the Treasury Gardens

my walk to work each day takes me through the lovely

backstreets of Fitzroy

on my way i gather pocketfuls of windfall leaves

and discover treasures on walls

and in gutters

it’s a good thing my pockets are generous in size


the clothes i wear are dyed with leaves

as if i have slept in the park

funny how the city i was born in is the one i look most out of place in now

on my first day here i lug a large leaf dyed bag of samples

another leaf dyed bag full of windfall harvests from the park

and a big garbage bag full of prunings given to me by the florist


parents nervously shepherd their children when they spot the strange bag-lady

in the park, gathering leaves and bark

and the odd twig

back in the middle ages they might also have crossed their fingers behind their backs

making the sign against evil


people walking to work look at me pityingly

a homeless person gives me a challenging look [clearly this is not my patch]

and a police officer sitting in a car by the side of the road takes out a notebook

and makes notes [or perhaps he draws funny faces to fill in time]

Fitzroy has a strange witch haunting the streets

and collecting leaves


the students have each been asked to bring ten windfall leaves to class

to enfold in their samples stitched from fragments of silk, wool, cotton, linen and hemp

those pale zigzag patterns are from banksia leaves acting as a resist


  1. You are doing better than a juggling act providing not only entertainment for the locals but also object lessons for their young. Your progress through the streets of your home town in this strange guise reminds me of one of the Latvian fairytale plays written in glorious verse about a princess who is doomed to walk the world as a beggar to teach her a lesson. You on the other hand are teaching the locals one.
    The bag lady is sorely missed at home.

  2. I really like that you were quietly observing them quietly observing you!!

  3. as silent as the leaves fall you wander through the streets . you're seen and away. (bad words for what i wanted to say)

  4. the unusual thing in all this was that folks were actually my age one is accustomed to being entirely invisible!

  5. imbi is in a hurry but wishes to express heartfelt scratches on canvas to you xxxxxxxxx the land of the great southern cross stretches... i get it!

  6. it seems Too many people have too many pre-conceived ideas... you are perfect just the way you are

  7. Gwen that's very kind...
    perfection is something i'm not even sure i aspire to anymore and if you but saw the dust-bunnies skipping about my house....oh dear.
    while on the one hand it's scary just how fast life has flashed by the beauty of having reached my venerable age is the achievement of a happy confidence [or perhaps insouciance!] in one's potterings about the whirled

  8. The dyed fragment above makes your street haunting well worth it. (They were probably thinking ...I wish I had the guts to be a free spirit wandering about the park collecting leaves.)