Tag Archives: Peter McFarlane

Dolphins by Peter McFarlane


Piano, violin and cello dance gently
claiming the airspace of the shack
now open to the blueness of sea
and the light of late morning.

Heat rises outside,
catches wandering butterflies in its shimmer.
I look out over the fringe of dunes
searching for dolphins,
waiting for them to appear suddenly,
as they always do,
like scattered crotchets and quavers
strung out across sandbars
and the slow swell of waves.
They always come,
dorsal fins like flags,
bodies glistening brown
with the sheen of rocks when waves subside,
sometimes as close as the yellow-winged honeyeaters
dipping beaks into the wells of flowers
outside my window. Once
I stood knee-deep in surf,
heels sucking back into sand,
as dolphins squinnied on the backs of waves
and kidded that I join them.
A power boat crosses the bay
making waves where there are none;
dry grasses and stiffened brown stalks
stir restlessly on the dunes;
more power boats cross the horizon
trailing white trains of foam.
The trio start their final movement,
allegro maestoso.
I look to the sea.
I know they will come.
If I keep looking I know the dolphins will come,
claim the sea as their own
and be gone.

Source: The ABC Book of Australian Poetry: a treasury for young people compiled by Libby Hathorn (ABC Books 2010)