January 16, 2006


Two still-green trees rub together
as if for reassurance
that the wind that grates
will carry too;
carry clouds, heavy clouds,
full clouds and black;
to fall and to dampen,
to drench and to soak —
deep into the pores of the earth.

The stream-beds are paths
for the lizard and the snake;
the reed-beds are brown
and blackened — (last week,
another fire went along there)
and the boulders which
rolled along
in the floods are quite still;
still with the stillness
of tragedy brewing,
still with the stillness
of death.

Men curse the wind
for its transitory promises—
dark clouds build up
(and our hopes with them too)
and are blown away;
or, worse still, come over,
intact and inticing,
to cynically spatter
verandahs and faces
before passing on . . .

A desk — and textbooks strewn;
lately my eyes have been wandering
more and more. But my window
still frames the same picture
of a bright, empty sky
(called gorgeous in Sydney, where
storm clouds abound),
and grass, grey with despair—
dust hangs in a curl
(thrown up by a wheel);
it seems, almost, to have
been hanging there
for months now.

O Lord, I murmur,
and murmur again-

Please send us rain.

-by i've forgotten who...maybe i should look it up.


Lynn Bruce said...

I'm stunned. How many of these do you have tucked away somewhere?

I perhaps would have judged this drought -- which has resulted in wildfires that have cost hundreds in TX and OK their homes and all their belongings -- to be well beyond the realm of the poetic at this point. I'm glad you did not. This is a fine piece of work.

More, please. Soon.

Mckayla said...

The Shieldmaiden is pretty cool...pretty cool...

toesthattwinkle said...

I agree with you mckayla..haha. I really like that, it's amazing. Talent, you've got talent

rachel tsunami said...

Very poignant...and Robert Frostish, Claire. Very touching. I felt your ache in that poem.

LaceyP said...

wow Claire! That was amazing! I'm with Aunt Lynn... "more, please. Soon!"

Dodger of Sheep said...

Pardon me for spoiling the adulatory mood, but what does the title mean?

rachel tsunami said...

Dodger beat me to it. I too am curious about your title.


Lynn Bruce said...

The Shieldmaiden wrote this poem after reading an article about the suffering in Kwikila, Papua New Guinea as the result of an extended drought. As we are in a severe drought here in the southwest as well, it struck a nerve.