Carol Jenkins


January, off Broke Road: The Winery

The casuarinas gossip
softly, swapping notes,
over a ponderous puddle
of brown tea.

January grapes
hum into ripeness,
the sun-blistered golden
ones, culled, feed the vines.

The creek swims
with tea-brown gouache ,
and children tinted orange,
who slide under
its slow folds, splash
back up in seal skins.

Late afternoon, stare hard
at the distant mountains
and they reprint
on the clouds.

Frogs orchestrate the night
singing like drunken
soldiers, for love
and their lost tails.
That fat fool,
— there, over the vines —
the full moon, ignore him.

The cockies with a taste
for chardonnay, send out
emissaries to talk turkey
with the gas gun.

Last night’s Christmas beetle’s,
stranded, stilled, past rocking.
Righted, it locks one claw
into my notebook.

Ferguson’s elephant-coloured,
the king of the grass,
stubborn to start,
a simple servant who barks
hard, chokes in diesel, then gets on with it.

The vines swagged and clustered,
hung and decorated, draped
and dripping with grapes,
that clarify, forgetting
chlorophyll for gold and red,
stalks hardening to sticks,
the skins blooming
with the idea of wine


October Notes—Burning of the Canes

There’s a llama paddock out the kitchen window
and, as the afternoon wears on, shadows
stretched by Sydney Long.

The birds start up, spotted pardalotes, wrens,
top-knot pigeons, trilling, whistling — ayk ayk

burble, chortle — the blue wren’s tail a fan
that frisks three times as much as him;
the Right Busy Grass Inspector.

A white egret punctuates the reeds
near Adam’s Road while three paddocks off
October vines quilt the slope diagonally.

A makeshift lake has set up in a corner block
where three horses ignore their own reflections.

At Whispering Brook the pump kicks in.
A pee-wee pewits bright & sharp as tin,

as the roses hit full throttle, light up the vine rows’ ends
in spiral galaxies of petal-novas, yielding drowsy
beauties that hang indolent in jars and vases.

The band eases into the fourth bracket of the blues,
a table-full of punters amble off, one waves a hand,
ample hips shifting to the shiraz’s syncopation.

A boy, hair so white it’s faintly green, knees scutched
with dirt, speaks charming not-yet-English, leaves
a rouge of pasta sauce on his mum’s skirt.

Around the back, three kids play with the sprinkler,
each drop’s a bright cold rainbow,

and the air holds time as if in aspic.
The canes, smoldering in the fretwork barbecue
burn down to white leaves of fairy paper.


Tableau of Table Engines
Power House Museum

An orchestral wibble, wibble, the slack slow rattle
of the oscillating rotor’s 3 & ¾ inch drive
speeds up to a 25 rpm, valve bubbling into top gear.

The horizontal Bauer, quietly spoken, rotates its
weighted brass arms, polished orbs, in a slightly
jerky pirouette and the oscillator chitters on.

Veroosh, Vroosh, a quicker whoosher, then
a running burble, as the Bellis & Morcome’s fast
phit, phit, pht, pht fits on top of other rumblings.



Carol Jenkins lives in Sydney. Her two collection of poetry Fishing in the Devonian (2008) and Xn (2013) were both published by Puncher & Wattmann. She runs River Road Press (, publishing Australian audio poetry and blogs at Show Me The Treasure (

‘January, off Broke Road: The Winery’ and ‘October Notes—Burning of the Canes’ are from the Whispering Brook Series.