SHOP NOW: free delivery anywhere in Australia for two or more books

Read this and be smarter: spend a moment pondering our past, present and future world with poet Nandi Chinna - Poetry

Read this and be smarter: spend a moment pondering our past, present and future world with poet Nandi Chinna

October 29, 2019

The poems of writer and environmental activist Nandi Chinna tease out and explore her own experiences of change, in her body and in the plants, animals and ecosystems around her. In The Future Keepers, Chinna invites us to consider our role as custodians of a precious planet – and how what we value, how we act, and what we choose to remember, will all have an impact on what is to come.
In The Future Keepers, Chinna invites us to consider our role as custodians of a precious planet – and how what we value, how we act, and what we choose to remember, will all have an impact on what is to come.

Ngoolyark

Carnaby’s black cockatoo

In geological time their existence is nothing

but a tiny puff of breath exhaled against a flapping

of shiny feathers burnt black by the thousands

of years of their becoming.

 

In human time there are few of us left

who can recall now when the sun was eclipsed

by the size of the flock carving its trajectory

through the ruffled blue of the sky.

 

Wired to a length of tuart wood in a glass

display case, ID tags swinging from their claws,

the ngoolyark are gathering dust,

their plumes fading under scrutiny.

 

Archaeology has traced this kind

of disappearance before,

but what data will record the unravelling

in the nest of our ribs

when we see the ngoolyark

in a now-rare formation

 

circling over the multiplying city,

above the fine new artwork,

a sculptural representation of their habitat.

 

The Future Keepers  

After staring through the window of the emergency ward

where tissue of extinct and endangered plants

glows on shelves under fluorescent lights;

 

and examining the 10 000 vials suspended

in liquid nitrogen, those minute memoirs

of species frozen in cryo storage,

 

I walk home through the park and try to get lost

along the terraces, find myself wandering

through the hakea and grevillea garden,

 

where weebills and singing honeyeaters

hang full-bellied from spiky blooms;

I think of the courage of the scientist,

 

keeping the future for a thousand years

when a human may (or may not)

release those tiny meristems

and plant them into whatever

the world has become.

The Future Keepers by Nandi Chinna is available in all good bookstores and on the Fremantle Press website.