With its currents wearing its sandstone away, Sydney seems like one of the elements, sinking with the tides, pulled by the stars. It moves to the long pulse of the universe as its rhythms drift in and out of phase. It waxes, it wanes; it is lost and rebuilt every year.
Equinox tells a story of Sydney over four seasons. The days lengthen and fortune shines, until the earth swings from the sun and into a long winter. The city-dwellers all draw the same curve with their lives: the bright spark whose job is killing him in any number of ways; the deckhand trying to shunt her father through his life; the beauty queen who finds the city a jealous rival; even the homeless man wandering like a frightened angel. They struggle through different parts of the city—though their paths may meet, and they may help each other back to the spring.
Each day in the city’s year is told in a sonnet, capturing some of the patterns and rhythms of the story. Each sonnet is an impression, strung together into the moving image of a city and its many parts, its rivers and gardens, its towers and suburbs, its pubs and empty streets, and the people who cling to it as if to a ship in high seas.
Equinox is the sequel to Solstice.
A harbour city lies becalmed
at midday on the equinox.
City and citizens are charmed
to silence by a paradox:
that time’s unending arc, which flows
between eternal highs and lows,
is built of fragments so discrete
that their extremities don’t meet.
Between these bounds, the air is warm
as blood. The sky, half-cloud, half-clear,
shows equal parts of hope and fear.
The times and tides reflect the norm:
an average day of average days
proceeding on its means and ways.
Today the Sydney Morning Herald
has very little to report:
no wars, no coups, no lives imperilled,
and just a smattering of sport.
Fortune has beamed upon the city,
removing it from care and pity
(no lives disrupted, no blood spilt),
but makes a fairly meagre quilt
for Arthur as he tries to sleep
beneath the much-depleted paper.
Watching the daylight dim and taper,
watching the pinholed curtain creep
across the sky, he knots his scarf
and adds a sheet of Telegraph.