Christopher (Kit) Kelen, ‘Scavenger’s Season’ in Rochford Street Review

A Wonderful Cross-Woven Web of Sensory Delights: Andrew Burke reviews ‘Scavenger’s Season’ by Christopher (Kit) Kelen

“Most of the luxuries and many of the so-called comforts of life are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind.” – Thoreau Walden


…Kelen doesn’t praise the Australian bush or damn it; he explores nature without judgement. He introduces the reader to his explorations without overt value judgements, yet his perceptions – from ‘silence’ to ‘nothingness’ – let us enjoy his reactions on a philosophical level as well as a sensory on.

seasickness of the soul
righting itself
in all that it cannot compass

– ‘hunting wild nexus

Hence, as I mentioned before, it is both a poetry of intelligence and imagination.

Scavenger’s Season is loaded with delight and sprinkled with wisdom. I am a little loathe to select examples because it is page following page of delight, but I will attempt a few examples of ‘wisdom’. Firstly, wisdom as Kit revamps his Shed, a longish early rambling poem:

form follows function and a shed’s always getting ahead
of itself.
corner turns to alcove, aisle – this is the result of pile,
because there’s nothing new here but everything
is born again, and messianic so.

so many perfections to life. then death must be perfect too.
it follows, fits.

in shed we dwell on it – there’s time. rain on the roof’s a kind of
proof. and also it’s a dare. there’s grief.

– ‘shed

…Like Thoreau’s Walden journals, Scavenger’s Season is Kit Kelen’s personal journey about building and exploring, about man in nature and, conversely, the nature of man. One man’s experience, for sure, but through its heightened examples, a universal application for contemporary citizens clustered in unnatural air-conditioned urban zones where lawn-mowing is the closest they ever get to nature, if they have a lawn, a left over from British rule.

– Andrew Burke

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