the heat is off the east wall
so the spider gets busy
10 November 2020. Springhill Road, Port Kembla.
some stayed in their cars
some got out and stood and those closest
did for him.
a scour of waves in the afternoon wind
the bright hard at our faces
the words fall away
until there is only light
then not even that.
Image: Picnickers at Wollongong City Beach (then known as South Beach) with Coniston Beach and Port Kembla Steelworks in background, 9 November, 1982. c/- Wollongong Public Library . A jisei is a ‘death poem’ in Japanese/East Asian tradition. Jisei tend to offer a reflection on death—both in general and concerning the imminent death of the author (in this case imagined – touch-wood🤞)—that is often coupled with a meaningful observation on life. Frank is hosting the bar at dverse asks us to write a jisei to celebrate the onset of the northern winter.
And here’s the wonderful Gillian Welch with Hard Times.
Needles from the low off Antarctica
spun from a face of angry ice
spray snatched into the sky
this mighty engine.
the water’s green and planktonic
no line or floor
sailing a darker green.
out of options, breathless
a man decides happiness.
Image: Vincent P. Taylor [in inflatable rubber suit] floating on San Francisco Bay, Sept. 29th, 1926 / Taylor Family photographs and State Library of NSW on Flickr. Opening day at my local swimming pool was a bit blustery. A quadrille for Dverse where Lillian is hosting and asks us to use the word ‘happy’.
And since we’re talking about it, here’s my happy place – Bach’s Goldberg Variations. Here’s the Aria by piano superstar Lang Lang (just ignore the cheesy camera work — maybe close your eyes for five minutes.)