Internal Weather

Poetry

 

 

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Cumulonimbus

These are the words we use when we

talk about how we are more than our bodies:

the terrestrial storms moving

beyond the immediate sky

 

heaping up and overthrowing the forecast

darkening with thick shadows,

bulking out wetness melt

in a song of vertical altitude.

 

Magpies umbrella fledglings with their feathers

as drops the size of rain

pelt the scape of the city’s ranges

a fine tantrum rendition.

 

How small are the beginnings?

Trigger neck bristle, the empty heart pump

forks to break the massive sky into segments

eggshell crazed and painful,

 

showing us we are chick small – from blue egged

nesting – needing the time for feathers

to alter ourselves into bird bomb razor;

to become weather itself.

Brittle

Poetry

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You ask me what is it

this brittle I’m speaking of:

what is this short temper?

And I am cracking the colours

having broken the blue

I say brittle is like this

and the shortness in my own breath

shows me how long I have been wanting

that exact blue of your eyes.

The red is no better

run like the Rio Dulce into murk

nothing can save us now

the sweet scratch of your nail

through the hardening colour

makes red redder and the

small smile you give me

is as clear as the sky.

Then, yellow will not shatter.

Yellow will not yield

my thumbs are worn, nail bed

lifting from my scratching at the

yellow you say brittle in my ear

and I know myself that I shatter

in the the yellow centre.

We have found the colours,

collected them and grouped them

we made them run and spilt them

we have seen that they each will do

the thing they themselves dictate

being made waxy and soft

until they cool. Then they are

as crisp as the day

and as likely to crack into shapes

spelling brittle across the board.

You sisters take the round ones

and make marks big and small

over huge sheets of paper.

The spangled colours are

as mixed and sweet

as the lines on the maps that show the way.

Dog For Caitlin

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Dog For Caitlin

That summer we loved a small black dog

Whose eyes always seemed to

see beyond the immediate –

moving her neck from our stroking

To examine the future-hazed distance.

She lay by the door, always found the shaded places,

the tunnel through the honeysuckle, the trough

under the verandah where coolness pooled

musty, in the old dairy dark.

She would come when we called,

out into the light, her eyes half-closed

her muzzled dusted

and she would let us stroke

– with our sticky child’s hands –

her earth-cooled fur.

The returner: 1.15am

Poetry

We furred at the edges

have forgotten where we each end

in this cocktail of aching sleep and wakening.

There are times

when you wrench yourself from those

dreamless drifts of pure rest

to footfall your way

to the fretting

and I can lie, wakeful for your return.

 

Often it is my body rising me

the way a wave pulses to the shore

I go to the child, that child who has woken

with no covers, or a dry throat or a terror filled dream.

 

But have I told you how

I swim in our warmth

and it is like that comfort I can give

returned and returned?

 

(Concentric circles, a pulse of falling,

the moon’s shadow across bed.)

 

You are my home and my returner

even when we are pulled awake

here in these small hours.

 

Sleep

Poetry

It has a slow beginning

parting you and your body

where your eyelids press

over all that light and dancing

that mouth all rumpled with

resting tongue soft and slack

even your hands curl and

fingers make a c that closes

up all the doing all the holding

all the catching all the grasp.

 

Slow and then dropping deeper

breath slow and quiet in this diving mode

you tremble with dreams as they

daylight this dim-lit cloudy zone

the fragment of the moon pressing

your flushing cheek as if

it wants to see in too, and is just waiting

for admittance to the place

only you will ever go, only you will ever

heap up your tiredness and tie it to the

float of dream and turn away again

to make your way through and through

all this witching hour all this meandering

all this trying new moulds for your body

new sight for your clean eyes from below.

 

Lie still and be loved from here

when you wake we will be here, too

and if you try out your voice we will know it

and even if you are oceans away

or galaxies, you will have our arms

to catch you, you will belong to our dreams.

 

Autumn

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When I was a child

it was always autumn;

with the rain and fungus

the fruit and promise

the leaf-mould and running gutters

where fat worms wandered

through the clear as light water.

Once there was a frog,

grey and spangled at the thigh

exact yellow, exact black.

It would rain and I would wait

in the car and try to count

the droplets forming on the window

as they ran together like so many memories.

The cold would come and stalk

the stars at night

and in the morning we’d fog our laughing breath

and laugh at its whiteness

and how it came while we weren’t trying.

Exact fog white, the crispest kind.

In the afternoons we’d forget our woollen jumpers in the leaves

and traipse around at dusk

looking for that yellow cuff

in the places our games had travelled us.

We’d fill the green bucket with apples and

spend the afternoon cutting our woody

homegrown windfalls

to make jelly,

fingers were slit

and the blood was exact.

Strangely familiar

and unknown.

Black Hen

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I must have believed that soupy death

all dark and dreamy with the precision of night

the cut blade of infinite was not for you.

 

Your feathers dusted up a grief I couldn’t place

in my child world right and wrongness.

The bite mark in your back was enough to let you go by.

 

I remember thinking spinach might save you:

these feathers so dark they were green in the dim cave.

I kept you alive for days, then death swallowed you,

 

much as my dog had wished to, when he bit down

through plumage and bone; the damage was done –

but I had to test if love could hold you

 

much in the way I saved selected snails,

spent tenderness on earthworms you – hen – would happily have turned

into part of you.  Your reflective eyes.

What I said

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My dear, i did not bing any more water

because I did not could not know that you would need to drink and drink until your belly fell over the elastic of your shorts.

No I cannot push you on the swing again,

my shoulders are sore, my arms ache, the muscles in my neck as spasming

but yes, I am still breathing and I can get us home.

You need a poo? Now? Well I have a plastic bag, and some nappy wipes, but don’t do it there!

There is a man coming with four large dogs.  Not on the path, move under the tree

there it’s shady.

Here, here, now wipe it – don’t worry, the dogs wont hurt you.

Yes, caught short you see.

OK, now are you finished? Are you finished yet?

Here, wipe with this, and wipe your hands, and put it all in here. There, now.

Watch out! Oh dear, are you OK? Yes, its bleeding.  Poor old love.  You need to watch were you put your feet!

Yes, I’ll take you home.  Yes, you can – and I’ll make you some dinner and run a bath and find some dry clothes.

 

 

Like Air

Poetry

From here you can feel the cold breast of the sky

if nursing here the runnels of rain

have been sucked dry and any warm frames of light

succulent like honey barred beams

dried into powder themselves;

a day bees hate, with grey dissatisfaction

they fluff their buzzing bodies and frown down the wind.

 

But you, having nursed and found the fire’s warmth

in your bones you have no word for afraid

or refrain no other state than barefoot

even in the mud that licks you as you would lick the rain

and stick wet coldness

will fall off you

like air.