Summer Tides

Far from water, summer tides flow in

on lizard skittering, a reptile sun fit

for the leathery backs of creatures

lost on the highway south.

 

A solitary magpie in sycamore shade

stolidly unmoved, charts their course

as they slither over bitumen streets

the surface heat of an urban sea

 

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in which everything turns

In the middle of the afternoon

rain poured down in buckets

just as we’d given up, decided

in fact, drought was here again.

 

A torrent of water flew down

like bird-words shrieking and cavorting

in a wild sky turned grey

even as everything turned:

 

colour returned to grass as each

leaf trembled in relief; I saw the ground

breathe deep,  seedlings become

plants, two sycamores

 

ten cypresses,  shaken with

delight. Only the roses drooped,

their vibrancy caught in a drama

of pain, heads bent to avoid drowning.

 

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in which a few branches are lopped

and light appears. A gap, a space

 

like a shift in time, an equinox of division marking

then and now, a maturity of growth. The chorister

stares out her window, a streetscape of everyday

passing by: the dog-walkers, the verge talkers, still

a postman, let’s imagine two chooks and a goat

previously unseen now vividly open to be written up

eluding exclusion.

 

the cherry breathes again; the sycamore was pruned for you

for blossoms in spring; your September blossoms

our September, our Octember when anything

is possible said Dr Seuss, even us walking and talking

with two squawking chooks and a sleepy mountain goat

it will grow back I tell you as winter’s bare branches stretch ahead

and you apologise

 

 

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Charter of the Forest

swallows discovered first the green passage

swooping from sycamore to birch, dense growth

marking a playground for squirrel chase and horseman

call; turnstiles come a century down the common path

we’re walking still, along the way to free the land

from tillers and their capital plan.

 

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