On Hammock Hill

Mark Treddinick and his dog Honey
Photo: Daniel Boud


This is my devotion, then: to walk sometimes

                                            with the dog through the sclerophyll

Cathedral of the morning. To let myself

Off my lead and follow a half-made track,

                                                       thinking a dilapidated liturgy,

Through bracken fern and native raspberry, three kinds

Of gum and a hundred kinds of weed,

                                                       toward nowhere in particular.


For the dog, the trail is a cartography

                                            of smells, its landmarks

Excrement and rabbit holes and old impressions

Left in mud. For me, it’s a way

                               I can’t find, most times, to lose

My way among brown butterflies; to fall out of the frantic schedules of the shallow

Hours that count down most of one’s time on earth. The forest path

                                                          is a labyrinth of bells and several local species


Of solitude. I go out daily, hoping for the rest of me,

                                              the otherness in all of us; I come back with dew

Drenched boots. And a weary dog. Inside my life – is it like this for you? –

I’m the blowfly that got inside the house: open two windows

And watch it beat itself up

                                            against every way it can’t get out, until

It can’t remember why it wanted to. This is my devotion, then: to walk

                                                           with the dog among frogsong and falling bark:

                                                                                          see if I can’t lose myself for the trees.

Photo by Daniel Boud

Mark Tredinnick is a poet, nature writer, and essayist. The winner in 2011 of the Montreal Poetry Prize and in 2012 of the Cardiff Poetry Prize, he is the editor of Australian Love Poems and the author of Australia’s Wild Weather, The Blue Plateau, Fire Diary, and eight other books. His new book of poems, Bluewren Cantos, will appear in early 2014. He is a founding member of the Kangaloon Group of Concerned Artists and Scholars. Read more at his website www.marktredinnick.com.au.