Sun Shower

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Caught in a sun shower,
the girl in my garden
flings five crusts of bread
in wide arcs,
bird gifts,
turns heel,
runs back inside.
Birds and girls,
saturated, singing,
leaping in my garden
like wings of rain.

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In a Chinese Garden

Finally, the erasing hour of the rain.
The garden lost behind a paper screen,
and what returns is never the same.
I have known a vast, bright, burning summer,
reduced to the silence of the listening stones.
The rain thrusts me
into these corners of solitude with a grey palm.
But see how the hydrangeas remain,
and rise like a rebellion of scent and colour,
from the darkened pond.
Blue, through folds of purple, to breathless pink,
they climb, until there is no colour at all,
only this defiant song of insects
that not even the rain could wash away.
For there is nothing in these flowers that
grows despondent, as we sometimes do,
and accepts the finality of water.
Like a breath of infinite pigment,
they leap and dive
in circles of unquenchable joy
without decay,
to the very edge of the garden wall.

Lavender Bush

How you could snap
under the salt of these harsh seasons,
so near that you’ve wrapped yourself tight within
your softest colours,
and wear your consternation like old world dignity.

And we see in your hurt shrinking
from these sudden thrusts of foreign air,
that you expected to bloom in
the warmer hues of that land of baths and frescoes,

and its wandering troupes
who sang the birth of language
as they passed your dipping purples and translucent greens
that not even the sun could cast shadows upon.

Do you remember your weightless dreams
planted along those chalk white roads
that meandered from monastery to monastery
in the deep wine of endless afternoon?

But now, this antipodal sky,
harassed by its own southern sea,
sows its wild blooms, burnt too close by the wind,
all about you,
the bright laughter of unfamiliar flowers.

And your fragile strength, despite yourself,
like the quiet urgency of a refugee,
feeling your way through the crowds of unwritten faces,
to take a seat in their midst, half unsure, half fleeing,
yet utterly sensitive to the tingling newness,
the touch of a world that is yet to name you.

Cat in the Long Grass

This country of the untrammelled grass,
that weaves into fingertips playing songs on the luxuriant breeze,
is your kingdom.
From this oak to the splintered fence, you hold a vast realm of the moment,
perched atop that old stone staircase that leads us
deeper into the idle days you keep here.

If you need it, this grass is like a cape you can pull over yourself,
absorbed in the verdant pleasures of your prowling dreams.
If you need them, these towering branches
are places to test the lightness of a soul.

When you linger here, everything, at last, has its place,
the trees bedazzled with coy ivy, the birds forever out of reach,
teasing your claws,
the cicadas’ bright cotton rolling down to you like a carpet.

And you lean into the hours bestowing a feline order,
a flush world humming with life spending itself.
Brief king of the afternoon, how you spend us,
who dare to approach and pay homage,

spend our lives like doubloons, like a plummeting sun.
What circumstance do we presumptuous ones have to rival you?