in the time of fires: kangaroos on the lawn


they knew we were responsible,
gathering on the clipped-suburban-green
close and dense as kangaroo stalks

that grew each face at the window;
grave and animal.Thirsty, too tired to run

from the flame, they stood and stared
at the brick-forest of human houses
fur-hundreds in their quiet grey-height


Helen Pletts
Picture: Aboriginal art


火灾发生时:草坪上的袋鼠 Chinese translation by Ma Yongbo ⻢永波



First published in English in ‘Flora/Fauna volume one,
A Collection of Nature Poetry and Photography’
by Open Shutter Press, February 2024


Ma Yongbo

MaYongbo was born in 1964. He is a Chinese scholar focused on translating and teaching Anglo-American poetry and prose including the work of Dickinson, Whitman, Stevens, Pound, Williams and Ashbery. He recently published a complete translation of Moby Dick. He teaches at Nanjing University of Science and Technology.

Helen Pletts

Helen Pletts: ( Currently lives in UK. Shortlisted for Bridport Poetry Prize 2018, 2019, 2022 and 2023, twice longlisted for The Rialto Nature & Place 2018 and 2022, longlisted for the Ginkgo Prize 2019, longlisted for The National Poetry Competition 2022.  2nd prize Plaza Prose Poetry 2022-23. Shortlisted Plaza Prose Poetry 23-24.




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One Response to in the time of fires: kangaroos on the lawn

    1. I love this ! So mysterious (or maybe so obvious) the kangaroos turning upon the lawns of people who are ultimately responsible for the fires. I love what it says and the way it says it!

      Comment by Trish on 23 June, 2024 at 7:50 pm

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