Anne Casey


Half a lifetime ago,

I sat goggle-eyed through

a wayang shadow-puppet show

             in Surakarta—enraptured

             by the spectacle, only part

             -picking up its threads.

Slanting pink-gold

these past evenings

through the autumn-thinning mantle

              of our backyard trees, edging

              between moth-eaten monstera fronds,

              fading cornets of the clivia, curling lace of tree ferns,

across distant eucalypts

waltzing to a stiffening breeze,

dusk-lit silhouettes are full of stories:

              this nightly theatre backlighting the invisible

              threads that have pulled us through

              our days—

                                       new-born squalls,

                                tricycle spills, first readers,

                     high school exams, gratitudes alongside

            acceptances of losses, almost twenty anniversaries—

and I am frozen looking out; 

twin moon-bright saucer-eyes: 

a ring-tail piggy-backing her joey

               past our window pauses, a cacophony

               of kookaburras is silenced in the boughs,

                and I wonder:    

                                      Was this the beginning

                             of worship millennia ago—where

                          we found the faith to carry us through

                  the shadow-world to whatever might lie ahead?

All the while,

the clatter and rush

of people going home

               or heading out, fewer

               overhead than before:

               a reminder we can take nothing

for granted

as the light drops,

half the planet rotating away

               from what sustains us,

               the dog’s ears stiffening

               for a single engine sound.

Anne Casey is an Irish poet/writer living in Australia and author of five poetry collections. A journalist, magazine editor, legal author and media communications director for 30 years, her work ranks in The Irish Times’ Most Read and is widely published and anthologised internationally. Anne has won literary prizes in Ireland, the UK, the USA, Canada, Hong Kong and Australia, most recently American Writers Review 2021 and the 2021 iWoman Global Award for Literature. A law graduate from UCD, she is the recipient of an Australian Government Scholarship and a bursary for her PhD examining The Second-Wave Impact in Australia of the Great Irish Famine at the University of Technology Sydney.

Website:  Twitter: @1annecasey.