The Clapping Tree
by Matt Dennison
I hope it’s worth it, this dying inside—
whiskey, salt, tobacco and then a moment
of hunger—flour and fat's dour tickle.
My ovaries are crippled, my eggs
no good. I was life! the ball and
feather falling multi-crumbled
in the language of entropy, babies
so terrible they’d suck murder
from the sky, ranchers milking
moon-cows, soldiers reporting
to duty, little birds coin-spilled
across the table. I never complained.
I swept them off: clap fears, placentas
eaten raw, Gods’ and fathers’ rabid tongues
wobbling in ecstasy—all cause for exhaustion.
I am tired. Tired of this house. Tired of this ravening.
It has been so long since I studied life with fire.
* * * * *
A video version of this poem by film maker Jutta Pryor (Aus.) can be found here: https://vimeo.com/388137126?fbclid=IwAR37_rsRqBzzu3o10cotqXzVWRZfa6kTOHqB3lujgoZefB1AIhL74qQMnG4
Jutta Pryor's comments about the video: “The Clapping Tree is a poetry film tribute to mark International Women’s Day, celebrating the strength, vulnerability and spirit of a woman surviving the rigors of life in a remote, male dominated, pioneering settlement. A film collaboration between poet Matt Dennison (Columbus, Mississippi, US), sound artist Mario Lino Stancati (Italy) and film maker Jutta Pryor (Melbourne, Australia). Filmed at the Tyrconnell Historic Goldmine in outback north Queensland, where several original buildings and machines remain testament to a goldrush that took place 120 years ago.”