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Old men playing bocce

  • 20 May 2014

Five poems by Shane McCauleyMemory of RainThey said it happened a lotin the last centurya gathering up    some sort of foldingin of the cloudsthe ancients even had gods for itand priests to beseech the godsThey said it could make rocksgive birth to flowersthat mountains could be dissolvedthat fields would burst with foodpeople danced in itsheltered from itfelt safe as it grazed their roofsThey said without itthere will be famine and chaosloss and destructiondeserts will fill our mouthsThey said it is hopethat water bringsThey said so many thingsRasasWONDER- 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 Bocceautumn’s last sunshinesplinters shadowmuffled exclamationssend Italian syllablesinto the far pale bluethe small cannon ballsbounce acrossthe peaceful greenthree women joggersand a dancing dog puff bythe men huddleconvene for a verdictand each breath seems to saythat this is whatsuch days are forMonsoon‘The summer starts in April’ – Madhur JaffreyNothing is predictablebut heat’s onsetsouth-western windlike shards of hot metal.If you touch anythingon this earth you burn.Dust arrives and paintsthe world dead.Salted lime juiceand green mango teasewith a moment’s coolness.Then the planet’s essenceinhabits your nostrilsa horizon army gathersand rushes forwardreleases lightningbursts open your cocoonof heat. The first reliefpierces like lovehearts as in some fableexplode with rainand like love toonothing is predictable.Haikuin pre-dawn darkgeiger-counterof sleeping catin silenceonly this deep-breathingof the washing-machine

Perth 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