Diane Hine

(25 July 1956)

Sestina: Useful Artefacts


A jousting emu was the least useful
thing the tray top driver met at scarlet
dusk on the cracked and rutted outback plain.
A jolting swerve snapped a metal link,
a strap sprang loose and an artefact
filled crate took flight under the moon’s wry smile.

Emu was victorious! A smile
deranged his beak. Patently not useful
was anything on wheels. Artefact
poaching was payback for a trail of scarlet
carnage. He looted a shiny broken link
as wind scattered debris across the plain.

Things with no purpose littered the plain
which gave Inspector Numbat something to smile
about because he liked trying to link
clues to solve puzzles. The word ‘useful’
was printed on a label caught in scarlet
peas. Nearby he found an artefact.

Goanna scrutinized an artefact.
The surface mirrored the corrugated plain,
beautiful in form and splendidly scarlet.
Objet d’art, she concluded with a smile.
Jest, uselessness entitled ‘useful’,
the contradiction clinched the ironic link.

Rosella was convinced a cosmic link
whispered inside an alien artefact.
Her ear was pressed tight against a ‘useful’.
Corella thought Rosella’s theory was plain
nonsense but he loved her lively smile.
Her folded wings were orchid blue on scarlet.

Mulga Snake’s blue blood warmed to scarlet
as morning sunlight pried each smooth brown link.
Her body slid into a scornful smile.
Clearly, whatever made an artefact
was less advanced than animals of the plain.
Such reassurances are always useful.

When Dingo buried a scarlet artefact
for later, he found a useful missing link:
a fossilized smile hidden in the plain.

Submitted: Sunday, March 02, 2014
Edited: Monday, March 03, 2014

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Poet's Notes about The Poem

These characters are also featured in the poems:
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Comments about this poem (Sestina: Useful Artefacts by Diane Hine )

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  • Valsa George (3/3/2014 12:03:00 AM)

    Who can tell the charcters created by Diana for her poems wouldn't be someday as famous as Walt Disney's characters? Interesting cluster of animals with Emu heading the team! Enjoyed! ! (Report) Reply

  • Douglas Scotney (3/2/2014 6:29:00 PM)

    Did you know, Diane, there's a smallish, round salt pan on The Coorong where emus have races against eachother around its perimeter? (Report) Reply

Read all 3 comments »

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