Academic journal article Antipodes

The Great Ocean Road

Academic journal article Antipodes

The Great Ocean Road

Article excerpt

A trail of ants

for five days now pursuing

the same strict route, progress

rapid in both directions, thousands

travelling within my line of sight,

at all hours I notice when I'm nearby,

presumably having found

a booming food supply to feed the pupae

in their nest but who knows

where that grows either

and I'd appreciate

their fine industry more

if it wasn't happening

across the kitchen floor-praise the wonderful

logistics of it, large-scale co-operation,

the assumption that here's

their right of way, before I take action.

I suppose the floor must so appear

since the procession extends

with insistent confidence-

and there's no evidence it's a fresh human food supply

the ants are plundering.

If a road provides

a right, across open country

or along a coast, for traffic

to speed upon it, no consultation

possible with the previously dominant

species of the region,

who's to question

these worker ants, ceaseless

in their duty?

From many thousand meters up,

through the window of a plane,

cars en route for hours or days

(such is the available space to take in)

clearly resemble the activity

that I witness in the confines

of the kitchen

and consequently think

how much better it is, time

permitting, to progress

at ground level.

The ants, inevitably about

half their number, are heading

in a south-westerly direction

just, it hit me, like the traffic

going to Lorne or Apollo Bay

on the Great Ocean Road, cut

into the Cretaceous sandstones

of the area, loyal mostly

to the coast

as are the ants to pheromones

no longer now a necessary guide to the route

across the kitchen tiles. …

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