Old men playing bocce


Old men in a huddle playing bocce

Five poems by Shane McCauley

Memory of Rain

They said it happened a lot
in the last century
a gathering up    some sort of folding
in of the clouds

the ancients even had gods for it
and priests to beseech the gods

They said it could make rocks
give birth to flowers
that mountains could be dissolved
that fields would burst with food

people danced in it
sheltered from it
felt safe as it grazed their roofs

They said without it
there will be famine and chaos
loss and destruction
deserts will fill our mouths

They said it is hope
that water brings

They said so many things


WONDER- To take the obvious
since we cannot escape it
have overused our words
to make sense of it –
that the night of stars
has no end   that the night
of stars has no beginning
no end   no seeming purpose
no plot   no destiny than
to pattern dark nothing
with bright nothing
or perhaps everything after all.

FEAR- Is it in this case
no different? Standing
aslant the universe
and daring it to do its best
or worst. Fear that
the night of stars
has not even noticed me
not noticed my alert attention
or is it perhaps
fear that it has?

Old Men Playing Bocce

autumn’s last sunshine
splinters shadow

muffled exclamations
send Italian syllables
into the far pale blue

the small cannon balls
bounce across
the peaceful green

three women joggers
and a dancing dog puff by

the men huddle
convene for a verdict

and each breath seems to say
that this is what
such days are for


‘The summer starts in April’ – Madhur Jaffrey

Nothing is predictable
but heat’s onset
south-western wind
like shards of hot metal.
If you touch anything
on this earth you burn.
Dust arrives and paints
the world dead.
Salted lime juice
and green mango tease
with a moment’s coolness.

Then the planet’s essence
inhabits your nostrils
a horizon army gathers
and rushes forward
releases lightning
bursts open your cocoon
of heat. The first relief
pierces like love
hearts as in some fable
explode with rain
and like love too
nothing is predictable.


in pre-dawn dark
of sleeping cat

in silence
only this deep-breathing
of the washing-machine

Shane McCauleyPerth poet Shane McCauley is winner of the 2014 Poetry d'Amour prize. His eighth collection, titled Trickster, is scheduled to be published later this year by Walleah Press.

Image: Migration Heritage Centre NSW

Topic tags: new australian poems, Shane McCauley, bocce, monsoon, rain, immigration



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Existing comments

These exquisite poems blessed my morning. Thanks.
Peter Goers | 20 May 2014

Thanks for these Shane. We were travelling in france and stayed in a small town Prats de Mollo in the Pyrennes. They took boce or boule very seriously, measuring exactly and glaring at each other if they thought it might be a fraction out. We bought ice creams and sat and watched and I wonder how much of the drama was for these obviouly foreign visitors.
Jorie | 21 May 2014


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