Hymn in Nimbin

God knows what made her start. She does these things .
They bother me at times, but then the hills
and river made a singing place of it.
Besides, they trained them well back then
and for a time
the mountainside and spur were candle-lit.
Then river and recessional ran on until
they merged, half-heard in sounds of Easter Day
in nineteen forty nine.

An engine knocking on the morning – five
Alternatives – beads, beards and smiles. Their van
with swami-stickers shuddered up, bled black, then died
beside the gutter. Near our coffee cups
Verse two began.
Above their lunch-time-museli-bowls three beards
slowed down, then stopped. Five smiles switched off and eyes
turned slowly hymnwards. Someone here
was non-conforming differently. A hymn
like this can shred a meditation. Smiles
flicked briefly on again. Five bowls returned
to safety in the van. The gum grinned
in triplicate from posters. Steered away
from heresy in Anglican their van
coughed carbon as they Kombied off to find
some new Nirvana further round the bend
and left me standing there with coffee and
a Nunc Dimittis wondering how long
they’d need to get their dharmas back. But then
they’re seekers after truth and ought to know
the sound of things they’re alternating from.

 

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