Will childless men like me in extreme old age be taunted by unborn daughters and sons lamenting their right to the chance of a human form or will Earth deep outside, despite degradation, in my single heirless loneliness, with Summer-wide light — dust in the rain — pink issued on a vanishing cloud — thank me imperceptibly through the hush of landscape for not breaking Its back with the strain?
We — adults of prolonged dry — have been found out by weather for what we deeply are: children of rain. Regardless of the science of the mock-solemn forecast, when drenching downpours start licking dust off the streets, instantly, the idiot spectacle rivets us, the wonder that needs no expert preamble: water — in effortless vertical seams — waterfalling down cloud. The sea, from its Remote Salt Splendour, sends us — or please RETURN TO SENDER — these exquisite packages of itself in miniature, messages to the inland, and to the glittering adventure of rivers, lakes, streams and creeks that, profuse and transfusing, add all their life to ours. It is a sober attendance watching for showers in cloudless cramped skies, segmented by air lines, by ambition’s architecture and at every point crackling with the irritated heat of engineering’s engines. Once we deplored those unscheduled interruptions; the skeletal coldness of flimsy, metal-ribbed umbrellas; the spatter-animation of turbulent, rubbish-filled gutters, but nowdays the nail-biting rain-wait readily consumes us. It is this fact of life (like the gift of fresh air, and like the selfless-active chemical transactions of the trees) which reminds — against want against wish against wealth against waste — of Planet Earth’s everywhere unsung elemental battler.
I was in aftershock: the roof had boomed with galvanized thunder directly overhead. Do eagles at night sometimes, I thought, crash-land heavily? I saw no tell-tale outstretched feather silhouette by the satellite dish. My mind was tempted (the tug was forceful) to make believe in the same old nothing, but a something — a second thought — intervened: is this how a shift deep in the Earth’s crust throws its seismic voice out into space? Vis non terra sed deo est.
Mountain water unclouded as crystal
always stills me in my tracks
and I just have to squat beside the anonymous downflow,
with all my nerve
the nuances of what to the eyes is essentially supremely invisible,
while enjoying the endless soothe
of low motion-voices.
The mid-air blur of dragonflies
depth’s liquid action: where an insect skims,
vision registers the ripple delibly made,
just as it does
the flick of a fish the colour of tan sand
against stone’s sawdust-gravel,
human instants at a quarter of thought
barely manage to catch hold of.
It’s like feeling the rush of blood in a jungle butterfly’s veins
just by placing
the pace of the breath of the lungs
in an open, sober altering
at the fringe of attention’s outermost
Above the satellite city
crawling with vertical architecture, mountain monkeys
defy the knock-out blow.
The emerald valley,
with Summer’s profligate monsoon storms
second by second the awesome inaudible sound of this world’s growth
through the flawless organic drone
of chanting monks.
over rusted drainpipes
and crystalloid streams of rock-filtered rain
perfect their glint
against a hundred hundred hundred million years
while, in a thin courtyard,
a wife and husband in training —
the two of them sporting
boxing gloves polished to a winner’s champion sheen —
trade amorous, well-aimed punches
through the air.
Uprooted to New New York,
the largest of the American moon colonies,
we are tortured by our lost blue planet
in the metaphors of English. We all pine
in a world without trees (the substitutes
they breed here for solace
agonize the sensitive). Lunar crowds gather
in air-conditioned stadiums
to watch reruns of old golf tournaments ―
it’s not the contest they love;
it’s the heart-rending spectacle of lawn-perfect greens
and the frequent glimpse of that gut-wrenching sight: