The universe within

By Romaine Moreton


The winds will keep blowing,

and the sun

will continue to both nurture and condemn

the crusted earth,


mortal bodies will either be fattened by the undulating

disposition of their surroundings,

or depleted.


the waves will wash weary shores

of barren and forsaken island paradises

long after the final breath has escaped from my lips.


So what is the purpose of being? I ask myself

during moments of tormented insomnia,

hounded by both conscious and unconscious actions to

cement my inert desire to belong and be needed


either to the masses,

ideally to the individual,


or better still



The mountains that have survived centuries

of environmental torment,

nature’s punches and caresses

will not be moved

should I on the morrow

find my feet planted no longer on the soil

but rather,

beneath it.

The birthing will continue,

as will the dying

and the killing

of things old and new,


young lives will be cut short,

old lives brought to an abrupt end.


And still I watch.


waiting for signs from above, preferable above,

as that is where they tell me divinity lives,

and that all evil lurks beneath and at the core

of the dusty landscapes.

Nguyen_James_Pure Water_5_Dobell2019.jpg

James Nguyen 

Pure Water (After Mike Parr), 2018

2nd Version, still image.


But how could the core of life conceal such evil?

How could the Mother entomb such spiritual deformities?


That is when it becomes quite clear

the universe is not out there.

but rather



I cannot conjure the desire to know the beginning of time,

would prefer to know,


Why I am afraid of loneliness? And am scared by my own

lack of appetence?

Why I cannot love?

Why I prefer solitude?


For the universe will exist

as it always has



Whether I know             or not.




Found in Rimfire: Poetry from Aboriginal Australia by Romaine Moreton, Alf Taylor and Michael J. Smith Magabala Books, 2000.

Moreton’s work is a republication of previous works found in The Callused Stick of Wanting, 1995.