Didn’t it rain?

As the decade breathed its last weary breaths, we sweltered,
haze blowing over from the north and west and east
and the fire station on Anderson Street set up
its red-painted TOTAL FIRE BAN sign.
We had it okay; not everyone did.
Our worst fears were heat and the once-in-a-decade chance
that fire might make it this close to the Bay.
While the kids went crazy, we blanketed
the house in blinds,
switched off all lights, pulled down the awnings, until
the 4 o’clock onslaught sent them gusting up in wild and rain
and I raced to the clothesline to secure pyjamas
while out front our overgrown branches teetered
perilous over the powerline.
By evening everything’s refreshed, nothing ruined.
I gather breeze at windowsills while
a rainbow reminds that flood will not destroy us.
Our pride might yet, or stupidity.
A new decade tumbles across the plains;
Grace will show what Grace alone knows.

Rainy Day Sermon

saint_paul_rembrandt_van_rijn_and_workshop_c-_1657
Saint Paul – Rembrandt van Rijn
The text is darker in this weather,
     more emphatic, as though
while he wrote,
         outside prison walls Saint Paul
            saw the fall
of some Ephesian rain-drops and thought:
            If my plea should fall on hard soil…

Did he see the runaway slave
     in the wet, uncertain,
standing at
         his master’s door, with letter
            dripping ink
on solid Colossian stones, and fear
            a silent and stony reply?

Raindrops soften soil. Outside is damp,
     garden drenched. Too much heart
is a flood
         when heart hears abject pleading.
            Letter drips
today with softening truth, and yet
            for all my rain I still am clay.

Memory in Rain

bd5cc38815c402410fe02d7a8fbd9ca7
Two children looking at construction work being undertaken on St Thomas’ Church of England in Essendon around 1932.(https://au.pinterest.com/pin/524669425310543785)

Essendon is drenched today. On Albion
And Buckley where my Granddad learnt to walk,
To talk, lies last night’s deluge in puddles,
In screen of watery sheen, while vermillion
Morning climbs the eastern sky. When we talk
Of heritage, does it sit in huddles
Like these? old buildings nestled in new ones
And the streets changing names, permanent as chalk,
Captured somewhere in memories like muddles?
Sometimes, when brain’s geography failed,
He fancied himself back on these streets,
And spoke of St Thomas’s where he’d been hailed
As Stupid Stuart. What memory repeats
Is mystery; beneath rainy road is soil
That, pre-Alzheimer’s, Granddad learnt to toil.

The Long Drizzle

Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote,
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote…
(Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales)

Finally
the clothes are dry,
the air is dry,
the leaves fall in their way.

Finally
April ends with such crispness
and we emerge,
knowledge of winter on the edges of skin
yet our bodies relieved from this dampness.

Follow, southern pilgrim.
The road leads to shivers, then flowers, then shivers.
Yet there will be a season
for laundry drying
and coffees on the lawn,
and a season when all the pilgrims of Canterbury
and Melbourne will dance
in the unendingness of sun.

image

Too Much Light 3: Prepare your ears

IMG_20141208_075510264
Slow down.
Road, rain, traffic slow you down
but you are fast.
Your heart pounds to silence the road, and buds
turned inward block out growth.
What speaks is asphalt
and the music in your ears, the hum
of engines idling, the unexpected pause.
Yet sky
is telling another story: look, the clouds
gather round the sun to make it plain.
And other hearts pound beside you,
some with windows wound down, and some
wound up
with the delayed expectation of day…
Change lanes;
there is movement in another place, and blinking
lights declare the way is near.
Listen: truth today sings in silent stasis
and beckons you to hear.

Number Nine

Darkness

 

Carlton kept in darkness slept,
            The streetlights out, the roadside swept
With rain that afternoon and feet
            Bewildered by the night.
 
The city never sleeps, they say,
            And anxious souls in search of day
Pit-pattered while inside the homes
            Smart-phones took place of light.
 
Commerce halted, leisure paused,
            Proprietors despised the cause,
While some found hope across the street
            Where power caught their sight.
 
Not quite as thick as Egypt’s, though
            A danker hue than cities know,
The darkness over Lygon Street
            Unsettled with its bite.
 
Yet refuge lay where light still shone,
            And in the end, it came back on
Across the street, and Carlton spun
            Back into groove, aright.
 
The sounds of muffled life returned
            And in the sky the streetlights burned,
Declaring never would the day
            Depart, nor win the fight.