In this still blue bright out of nowhere
they appear, five, six, nine, just hanging
I notice them peripherally, a flock much
larger than the usual circle of seabirds
a tenth is still falling, a stone tied to a ribbon
then the shute flowers finally and she brakes.
I hear them distantly woo-hooing each other
legs a-dangle, bodies hung from a string.
Maybe they’ll bring us news from that upper realm:
‘the air is cold and thin’, ‘clouds wispy like pillows’
or say how we appear in our gardens
unexalted, climbing ladders, walking toddlers
or, having snatched themselves out of the great mouth
tell us the particular word death said when denied.
Image: Royal Australian Air Force parachuter, c. 1939, c/- State Library of NSW on Flickr.
And for music this morning, here’s an early album by Max Richter, The Blue Notebooks (youtube) – (maybe start with the familiar ‘On the Nature of Daylight) which he described as a meditation on (and against) violence. Featuring Tilda Swinton reading from Franz Kafka and poet Czesław Miłosz‘s Hymn of the Pearl and Unattainable Earth. Originally released in 2003, here we are nearly 20 years on…
as sun leaves the wall
spider gets busy
sowing sails and vacancies
scaled to her prey
in hopper legs and fly husks
how like this, this is—
line on line and beauty
bent round purpose
like a bonsai cypress
framed by chicken wire
and how wrapt we are
beguiled by gravity
stuck, barely able
to remember the door
Image: A favourite wall in Wollongong, rear of the Bridgestone Tyres outlet, McCabe Park. A bit of play with forms today (apols to any tanka purists, the syllable count doesn’t work either).
And for music this morning, here’s another piece from favourite US soul guitarist Shuggie Otis, Live in Williamsburg (Brooklyn) from 2014 (Youtube).
after Dressing table self portrait, Margaret Olley, 1982
there are days — when the levity of dogs
the fridge motor, the pol air chopper
says there’s no quiet to be had
but for this moment to which you return
again and again, your familiars —
blooms, a fan of feathers
ovals and angles turned so the light
that lines your dressing table
leads to the morning over your shoulder
then descends into blue, blue shadow
— your cardigan, your face is awash
you stare at the sun specular in glass
and antelopes on a black lacquered box
lost to us now, but leaping still
Image: (detail) Dressing table self portrait, Margaret Olley, 1982. A poem after Australian painter Margaret Olley‘s (1923-2011) 1982 painting which is here. Olley painted several versions of this scene over a painting career of nearly sixty years during which she focussed on colour and still life.
And for music today, in keeping with the retro funk from yesterday – here’s London based electronic producers Jungle with their May 2022 EP Goodtimes/Problemz (youtubers)