Morning of sunlight
insect-hot and biting
skin scratching stalks of mown hay
life that balances with death in the night
a handful of pigeon feathers
a dead mole tasted but uneaten
scents stream where water should run
in this too dry calm
perhaps before a storm.
We walked in the early morning
We walked in the early morning
but no dew damped the grass
the heat already lay in wait
and we wondered if the earth had ever rested,
if the paws and feet that trod the night
had ever waded through a gentle sea
for the sun was a yellow devil
an eye unblinking and the tender blue
of spring a steely sheet of unbearable glare.
We walked the early morning
through a thin veil of dust
golden motes igniting the air
where dragonflies hover
hunting low impervious to the sun
their mechanism in tune
to this deathly stillness.
Wind mutters through the heat
twisting dead flower heads
wringing the necks of the dying.
Grinding clatter of harvesting
begins again, balancing fear
of struck sparks against loss—
dry gold turning to ash
beneath this sun
burning up the blue.
River run dry
I wanted to hear the river of words
that tell the story of the picture
painted in the bright place behind my eyes.
But there in a dead bird
beneath the trees,
dead of the sun,
dead of the dearth, the shrivelling
of the climate we squeeze
and twist in our greedy hands.
There will be no more songs
poured from that throat,
and the painting is flawed.
The river runs somewhere for some,
but its voice is lost to my ears,
like the bird’s singing is lost to my heart.
It ripens so quickly now, the grain,
beneath these new suns,
and the green dries to gold.
Too quickly the suns roll across the sky,
and the nights too short to take stock,
the moon too far to cast cool shadows.
Nests fill and empty
though nightingales still sing,
but there is dust in the air, chaff,
summer not yet begun
and already lassitude drains the juice
from stalk and stem.
like an oven door
on unshaded grass—scorching
Many fingered like the sea
a heaving mass beneath the coping of the sky
sopping up the clarity with spongy paws
it wrings sweat from the veiled air
puddled in vague yellow unclear green
dripping dry and crisp beneath the tread
this heat slows the workings of the world
like syrup in the wheels and cogs
silencing even the irritable crows.
Heat rises from baked earth,
sighs in whisper of thistledown and butterfly wings,
bathes in gold the green beneath
more and more relentless blue,
seeps in the sweet, ripe smell of bird-pecked figs.
flickering the shadowed sunlight where
a blackbird sings softly, a trio of notes,
listening in vain
for stream babble
to finish the line.
The temperatures have been steady 95-96°F for weeks now and not a drop of rain. We’re hoping it will break tonight though we’ve missed out on all the storms recently.
to this crisp-leafed
no birds sing
to comfort the silent shrinking of the earth
mounds of dry grass
The Oracle gave me a double puente, which the French would call a viaduct.
Heat crushes me,
hot winds lick my skin with coarse tongue,
ripping splinters from a rainless sky,
as thirsty mouths
waiting for a summer storm
there was a time when clouds drifted,
cool and wet from the salt ocean,
heavy with the moist perfume of sea stars
and the liquid darkness of the night sky.
Now heat melts,
so catch your ship and sail away but
~remember this picture~
breathe in colour
as the animals do,
dark and gentle,
let it grow this earth, this life,
as the vine climbs
to the moon.