Rain in the Forest
Every single spotted gum marks
one corner of a slightly-out-
of-kilter cubicle. In threes
and fours the surrounding trees
bind all sorts of places, some small
(tight as a telephone box)
but others sprawling, crowded
with debris, spiky cycad fronds,
dead, fallen trees. Think it through:
these enclosed spaces streaming out
in front, on every side of you,
over this hill and the one beyond
compose an infinite mansion,
every chamber held in tension.
Now they feel a sweet release
most earthbound creatures never knew.
You will not see it when it comes,
soaking you. A mighty noise
shakes the crowded canopies
and the roots. A dark, roaring voice
shouts its instructions into
thousands of corridors and rooms.
How it is
Poetry’s not a young man’s game.
I thought it was once: that shout
in the head as the words fell out,
when it was over I was hooked.
Let it not be said I mistook
my purpose, that I had control,
I knew I was lucky to hold
the pen. It is still the same,
this is all I’ve ever known:
some poems are like magic spells,
unwrap them slowly when you write
lest their power evaporate.
Tease out each word, set them down
and leave them. Because you know
they were made by someone else
from another place, long ago.