Let the wind prattle against windows.
Panes rattle, cornices whistle moonsongs:
We turn in our shrouds to be warmer,
Somewhat closer to each other, at four.

A cat coughs, lurches by the windows,
Implores admission, confesses his loss

To pillows and an unblinking television:
It is now approaching a quarter past four.

The throat has turned dry with speech
Or was it too much red wine last night?
I cough discreetly, head into pillowland,
Avoid dreams and fretted anxieties.

At the end of our courtyard a car starts
Growling like some fierce predator,
Our collective souls quiver, cough softly
Lest he draw up outside our window.

The bedside clock has edged forward,
Almost five, she whispers, close your eyes,
And the wind soughs, do sleep, do sleep.
Moon gives way to dawn and magpies:

Then there's the first of the day's joggers,
Next door's plumbing starts growling,
A door opens, slams, and another squeaks,
Someone's home late, or away early.

The Nymph Has Taken Leave
The Nymph has taken leave of us, hopeful suitors,
Willing herself towards her dreadful lover.
And so, the world has once again shifted axes,
Groaning a little as it does, like a pensioner
On the day before his accounts come due.
It's turned cold now, and wet, unlike last week
When it was warm enough to sit outside after dinner
To watch the stars emerge from behind their covers,
Match themselves against twinkling fairy lights:
And now, those clouds are no longer gray-edged
But epitomise grayness itself. A small voice intuits
This is the year's necessary revolution
By which the appletree will bloom in Spring,
Or, next season's tomatoes will be plumper,
And so on — I assent, and set about
Planning my part as if I were a gardener
In a comedy of clay, mud and bagged manure —
All for my own benefit — so the voice insists,
This being hereabouts the Kalends of March
Her insistence rings true enough, though I'd rather
Be locked in the arms of her daughter, or a niece,
Who would keep me nicely warm in the months ahead.
I know what's coming: long weeks as the year fades
Into decrepit mornings and fog-bound noontides,
When afternoons give a brief moment of light,
Then, the long commute home in gathering gloom.
Everyone will turn sour. Perhaps, and I pray for it,
Snow will graze the nearby hillocks, the bay freeze over,
Some blinding glint of diamond cut through.
But that is to hope against everything I know:
As my world darkens, another's is reborn into light.

Edward ReillyGeelong-based Edward Reilly is a sessional lecturer in literary and educational studies at Victoria University, and a cultural activist. He is a former secondary school teacher in South Australia and Victoria. His poetry has been published in Australia, the USA and Lithuania. 

Topic tags: new Australian poems, Edward Reilly, insomnia, Fourish, The Nymph Has Taken Leave



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