Caliban gives the Weather Report
I have seen the dark lips of clouds skimming the reckless heavens,
carceral crags incandescent in relief. The fibrous roots of old growth trees
not yet logged have eroded like my teeth, my skin is charred antelope.
I’ve lost count of lethal landslides, villages razed, crops destroyed.
I am the walking omen of tempest, hail pitches from my foul mouth,
even night gales remind me of Blake’s tigers burning in bush fires.
The wind betrays me, my offspring are digital, algorithmically damned.
I am the shadow of this poem, neither slave, fish, nor strange tortoise.
Prospero made me crawl, his curse festering in my bones, a delicate monster.
I have no spell to slow the rising seas, forward or backward, spelling
is his ruse, yet I remember waking to mornings drenched in wild jasmine,
scruffy juniper, goldfinch, how tiny, sweet berries sequin clement light.
Sometimes, I’d like Prospero to return to my island, be accountable for every
refugee, the scarred, infested bogs, hear the young screaming for their future.
Michelle Cahill is an award-winning poet and author living in Sydney. Her collection of short prose, Letter to Pessoa won the NSW Premier’s Literary Award for New Writing. She was the Red Room Poetry Fellow in 2020 and has been shortlisted in the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award and the Helen Anne Bell Bequest. Her debut novel Daisy and Woolf was published in 2022 by Hachette. Her poems have appeared in Meanjin, Southerly, The London Magazine, The Weekend Australian and The Kenyon Review.
Bundanon’s annual presentation of environmental research projects and public programs has a decade-long history. In 2022, Siteworks is presenting a family of projects that draw on climate research, critical thinking through contemporary art, creative digital spaces, and Indigenous knowledge and technologies.
The starting point for Siteworks 2022 is the concept of the weather report, borrowed to map both environmental and emotional spaces, and chronicle internal and external landscapes. This expansive program includes a new exhibition, outdoor installations, a laboratorium space for workshops and performances, as well as talks and events over weekends throughout the season. Siteworks 2022 posits the artist as a kind of weather balloon, capturing a collection of reports on our place and our time.
Commissioned by Bundanon; part of the weather station in Bundanon, NSW, Australia.