Poetry: Under the Jacarandas | clivejames.com
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Under the Jacarandas

Under the jacarandas
The pigeons and the gulls
Pick at the fallen purple
That inundates the grass
For two weeks in October.

Although the splash of colour
Should seem absurdly lush,
Soon you get used to it.
You think life is like that,
But a clock is ticking.

The pigeons and the gulls
Don't even know how good
They look, set off like this.
They get it while it's there.
Keep watching and you'll learn.

The Guardian, 15th November 2008

Note (from Collected Poems)

The jacarandas in question stand in the small park at the left-hand end of Sydney’s Circular Quay, as you approach the quondam Maritime Services Building, a sandstone-clad Art Deco heirloom rather more distinguished than most of the creations to which it nowadays plays host in its new role as the Museum of Contemporary Art. In my later years, until illness stopped me flying, I was always glad to be in Sydney in October so that I could sit writing at my favourite table outside Rossini’s and occasionally look up to watch the jacarandas raining purple. If the falling petals could have made a sound as they hit the grass, it would have been the slow scattering of individual piano notes in one of Debussy’s Images, or perhaps the linked glissandi in the haunting voice of Gurrumul. Last time I saw them, the office workers taking their lunch on the grass looked as if they were posing for a plane-load of French Impressionists.