Somewhere between the upthrust land and the press of the sky
A thin wind unrolled and licked the bone earth;
the air turned bruise-black and rolled and kicked
until it was engorged with coldness and fury;
it could do nothing but arch and boil and swell
then shouldered its way between the bosom of the land – came forward as a new world, beaten and black and ready to fight,
its shadow changed the earth and its colour and it spat rain that danced:
then came claps and roars and we did not know whether to run
or throw up our hands; so we watched as it fled west,
a swollen black unburdening rampart
She begins, as we all do,
a pouring forth, a rage of cold-eye blue.
Canny ancestors smile and wink,
knowing that the river’s tumult will be forced to rest
into spreading lake by Dunstan.
Then pent up again at Roxburgh.
But no feat of engineering will tame a mother
when the heart breaks.
where treasure and secrets are buried deep.
lean over the bank.
Scoop the little dream-bird from the water.
With ease she flies
over Nugget Point and
out to sea.
A Simple Wish
the stem of her glass
a luminous, vertical arc
much the same as the line
that sweeps, glides
leads this lesser god
to another Calvary
I trace, follow
from heel to shoulder
a river song (a child hears)
where the willow bends
and desire streams
don’t doubt it mate
just as the song is the thing
so too her complexion
of lascivious disposition
though still in first bloom
primavera – rites of spring
will invite the tide
give rise to indigo
is there anything more blue
than this place ?
her glass – my drowning wish
to drink from the sponge
but Christ the river’s dry
©Orion Foote, June ,2016
∞ My tale is in the telling, not the closing ∞
Ink that writes upon my mind, what might I find?
Beneath oceans where blue holds me in
Drawing the causeway down to shadows black
Across paths made anew
Rising from the waves like a plastic bag
Happy to find a mad sun shouting in my face
Dreams and stories cross collide; they co-inside
Meeting with what was and what I dare not imagine
The surface of water confused by my reflection
A slight infection?
And though the waves once raced to greet me
They now run away
Dragon eggs in strange locations… my fascination
Here my own virus rears its head
Or is it only in those other eyes I feel misplaced?
My destination lies on the hills
To leap green pastures upon scaly wings
Flames and calls to the unfamiliar
Good and evil imagine nations, I must have patience
No fear of losing what lies before
Armed to the teeth these mass formations
Riot amongst their own
Yet after all they are my creations!
Set the sun and rise another morn
8/6/16 © Copyright R Smith 2016
(The first line of each of these four parts originally made one lyrical verse. This felt like I had done it too many times before, yet when I broke it up into four pieces it began to tell my story…)
In the painting the man has a gun
and he is on a rumpled bed and, above,
a statue of Jesus is suspended upside down.
What are we to think?
That the man has lost faith?
In himself – in life – in his god?
Some were frightened, the curator said.
Not by art, surely –
But perhaps they saw themselves in that man;
saw an element of torture and loss; or a man
preparing to challenge a villain, or a man
looking for himself and finding nothing.
Perhaps they saw nothing: just a man
on a bed holding a pistol, as men do
Incensed by their utilitarian
blot on the landscape
you are. Towers.
Linking arms and
buzzing with deathly potential.
Watch them march all over
your slumped velvety couch
upturned tired armchairs
The hills you call home
Follow them if you want
They know how to do
an honest day’s march
Cook Strait, Grenada,
in the most direct route
Then go home and
turn on the light.
If my words were water
You would drown in meaning
When I said “I love you”
The inner secret
That’s never born
Shifting sands of dreams
The zodiacs cross the planet
Each house moves same like
The way we cog and gear
Upon our shoulders we bear
The voice of your eyes
More blue than any ocean
Not even rain has any colour
As deep blue as your eyes
I would walk lucent
Wavering through any Forrest
With you at my side.
21 March 2014
passing it on
to the mother
it with your
at a restaurant
kept to itself
in the case
it this day
to the daughter-in-law
at any rate
out in the
times you were
she took the
knew the son
as you two
yet all the
talk she could
figure him out
a man truly
out on a limb
of his own
of us are
so be it
you wear her
in touching it
24 december 2013
the wind gallops from the hills
so that the trees in its path bow at the waist;
it is eternal supplication
the river runs cold in a gut and hugs a hill
from which the bush comes down to drink,
and it dips into water so clean it runs like oil
there is a stout house of a low terrace, its windows
pressed to the view, and tussocks roll in the wind,
and people listen and watch and think:
this is fine place, with wind and water and
views to damn the eyes
The paper curls
It’s edges drenched by sunlight
Certified chaos across the pages
Without the luxury of leaving
The pen strikes
An echo in such little space
Watched on from
The watchtower of repent
The stain of the pages
Strains the words
To walk Main Street
An opaque dream.
Isn’t it funny, sometimes, that you see what is not there;
funny how the eye picks up the expression, the smile
yet also sees the beginning of loss; that that someone
is not looking at you but past you – to something – or someone
that you do not want to think about, but you do.
You see them in the sun and warming each other in winter.
Hesitation, the averted eye, but it adds up.
Or so you imagine.
And it is a watery sun in winter: there, just enough to warm your fears.
Then it crawls to the back of your head and begins to tap.
And that, really, is where the end starts