with Janet and Jo

With Janet

Planting a smooth grey river stone 

beneath a knee-high sprig

Of river red gum

Roots tunnelling deep

Leather leaves twisting against

Rasping hatchings of grass

The young pups circling the ancient mother

Who sends seeds and saplings to make a 

Future forest

We set down our stones

And whisper hope into the earth

Call up the millions of underground creatures

The cool of hidden water running deep beneath empty riverbank

A pearl of raindrop

The moss to the stone



With Jo

Planting feet in a hillside

Faces to the wind

Kites dancing above us

Mottled black and white with fire’s charcoal and

smears of river’s water

She tells us of building a garden

Of fostering the earth

Wrapping it in blankets of compost 

and manure gleaned from stockyards

Rich steaming truckloads of the stuff 

set down on soil to decay, to decompose, to be reborn 

And the joy on the day she found a worm

Had come to live on the prospect of greenery

The future birth and death of a thousand plants 

That would shape and shade and shelter the red-roofed home.

Elizabeth Holland is an Australian writer who lives in Sydney. In 2016 she won the Sawmillers Poetry Prize for her poem Crisscrossing. She has been a finalist in a number of poetry and writing competitions, and has had her poetry and creative non-fiction published in anthologies. She is currently working on her second novel while seeking a publisher for her first. When she isn’t writing, Elizabeth might be found urban sketching, swimming in the ocean or picnicking in beautiful places. She tries to do something creative every day. You can find her on Instagram at emhollandwrites.