B N Oakman is an Australian poet whose poetry has been published in literary journals, magazines and newspapers in Australia, the UK and the USA and recorded for ABC Classics on Peter Cundall Reads War Poetry. He was awarded a grant by the Literature Board of The Australia Council for 2009 and a chapbook, Chalk Dust: Poems from the Social Domain (Mark Time Books), appeared in the same year. A full-length collection of his poems, In Defence of Hawaiian Shirts, was published by Interactive Press in 2010. A chapbook of new work, Secret Heart (Mark Time Books) will be published in early 2013. He has taught economics at universities in Australia and in England. www.bnoakman.com
B N Oakman
Castile in Autumn
From brown and tree-shorn hills wind turbines trail
long white sails, taunting any wandering Quixote.
Trucks ply the carretera from Soria to Burgo de Osma.
Fields lie dusty, deserted, silent. We pass crumbling
villages, inhabitants scattered to towns, displaced
by machines, unwanted after farm mergers, expelled
from dirt-under-fingernails poverty. Churches decay:
one shelters hay, another houses a thresher and binder.
Priests, shepherds forsaken by their flocks, have fled
for want of sinners. From nests in belfries stripped
of bells, sharp-eyed storks prey on Castile's stubbled
fields - where the angelus will never toll again.