Wheelie bin lids in a row. Queen Street, Sandy Bay. August 2011.
Oh rubbish bin. Oh trash can. Oh wheelie bin, recycle bin, waste disposal container and common skip! How we love thee!
Why They Turned Back/Why They Went On, Constance Urdang
Because a black bird flew across the road;
Because the attendant at the pump turned surly;
Because the uncertain weather
Made Mother nervous,
And, back home, the telephone kept ringing
In an empty house;
Because a white bird flew across the road.
How far had they come?
How far did they go?
Seeing, along river after river,
Between shores of brush and willow,
Only the bend ahead and the bend behind
Under a sky featureless and hard
As a shallow bowl; through tautologies
Of a landscape unendingly repeated
Mile after mile; down Main Street
After Main Street, replications
Of the same petty civic scenery;
Hearing the ghosts of trains
Crossing between cornfields,
Clattering over the points, moaning
Above creosote and cinders,
As if the imagination
Could produce nothing more
Than the same landscape, cornfields,
Rivers, and Main Streets
Pulling them, like a magnet, not toward
But away from, not into the future,
But away from the past;
Until a white bird flew across the road
With its mysterious message, that said to some,
“Turn back,” and to the rest, “Go on.”