Jane Frank

Art Lessons with Molvig

I inhabit the frames in this room just as if I’m perched
inside my father’s head,

flitting from beneath the awning of the old
school in cumulus sky

to a parched Gayndah paddock – Santa Gertrudis
bullocks at noon, mountains arched,

rusty, a stegosaur’s spikes. Sometimes I sit beneath palms
like stilts tinted rose pink

and mint in Katherine Gorge watching time leak purple.
But most often, you’ll find me

in a studio corner, leaning against the marbled wall,
a heat bleached nineteen fifties day –

the life-drawing class: there’s a vagrant in a torn coat,
a teacher with a goatee beard,

a schoolboy in blue and grey.

© Jane Frank

Out of Reach 

The past met me at the shoreline
lapped at my feet
it felt strange to sense the world in layers
mist disguising a distant coast
forests swelling over cliffs like icing not yet set
a sensation of sipping bodily at a deep peace
through a chalice made of shell

clouds swab low
and the space for remembering diminishes
(so this is how it works?)
and the beach contracts, crumbles
the waves copperplating moments
and erasing them
faces pressed watery in shallow glass
surfacing or sinking at random –
a whole picture not visible
won’t ever be

and when I turn I feel a stranger
but it’s a comfort not to know what is beyond
the next undulation of yellow grass –
…………..a pebble-weighted cove
…………..a white grave fenced against the tide
…………..a dead elm’s bed
…………..a thin salt-crusted fringe stretching inland
…………..to the faint road back

I can’t remember much beyond the film out there
but it returns if I play songs over
or with slow rain that asks before it falls
the peninsula curving like an inner thigh
before the round bump of knee at the point
hills swallow me
follow me
circle me
and I run down them to understand the ticking
measure my steps
watch the land flatten towards the cliff edge
beyond where it lies out of reach
a sea eagle disappearing over the origins
of waves it won’t see break 

© Jane Frank

Ask Isis

Isis painted
yellow rosettes
on tomb walls

rubbed Rosa Sancta
petals mixed with oil
on her fingers

placed a golden collar
around each neck
and released the dead –

their skin and bones
khenet, imperishable,
dust turned to life.

Today I look for her
in the frangipani.
I search in sunlight

for the wings
of a kite, a solar disc.
I ask for her enchantment

I will carry, I say,
80 gold leaves
in a holy procession,

pray for bright light
in black places,
melt bright metals

until they run
in her magical blood
like fire.

I will do all that and more,
I say, to see his face
In the amphitheatre

of sky again.

© Jane Frank

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