One day you will wash your hands
of their grip — no more grasping,
clenching, holding on
and on for dear life.
Smooth out your palms in that otherworldly water
“And so, where did they go to,
my fists?” In Winter,
rinse them under the bathroom’s warm tap,
while in Summer dip them if you can in some cool pool
or in the salt marine green
of a sea.
A brand-nude world will meet you at your fingertips —
feel your hands heal;
feel them hale,
whole; and remember the colossal
agile whale, she whose heart is neither here nor there
and who hoards to the end
not one drop in her giant fins.
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
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;
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.
You feel it, of course ⸺ the tension
implicit in attention. What it registers
nowhere fingers begin to get a grip on even for an inch.
And if you were the river
streaming forever with no fixed point through the course
of a liquid lifetime
what would you struggle to try and say to yourself
just so the predicament
was that little bit easier to bear? ⸺
Make no object of the current
and by all means let the torrent of “each moment” flood-light you
Photograph: Evette Kwok (2020)
Together we swam in the clear, warm water, then lay in the sun innocently naked. Sometimes we sat together in a circle and made forms in the sand with our bodies. Then we would go around the circle lying down in the impressions others had made — to feel what it was like to be them, living within the confines and shapes of their bodies.
— Daran Kravanh and Bree Lafreniere, Music through the Dark
He’d never lived until he’d dived
through the shape-shifting surface of the surf,
his skinny lungs crammed to the ribs with back-up air.
Seams of foam rose up in the standing waves,
seething with life signs, and seaweed
added adventure’s texture, a garland at sea
for all those who dare the joyous-treacherous dogma of the brine:
you are who you survive.
I’m enamoured of a contour made by the mind
when it comes to an understanding.
A woman with query in her voice
is gratefully enlightened by an answer
from her friend:
O, she says,
and her O riddles its way through extravagant intonation,
rising steeply — in imitation of strong doubts —
then falling buoyant with relief
back to clarity’s sanded floor.
She might have been standing in ocean
up to her armpits, first elevated by a transit wave
against gravity, before allowing herself to be dropped —
thrilled and informed — in a fresh calm’s certified wake.
Although yellow-skinned in the deep brown water,
I am ferocious against the current’s brute shove.
Bellbirds’ irregular sonar
sparkles, acoustic counterpart
to the sun’s shifting highlights
on the ripples, on the leaves
of the nude river gums.
The dark side of my mind
warns of drowning; the wrong side
loves the moment: water — skin —
solitude — risk —
After slow and steady laps in the public pool
she makes her way back to the toilet block,
head still swimming with the twist
and tug of the stroke. Water has a way
of stirring thought — it seems to unlock
from the nerves a pleasant fluency
of idea-talk. Standing in her bathers
under the shower’s introspective shower,
gradually she comes to realize something,
drawing clarity abstractly
from luscious inwardness:
beside her stand three naked men,
expressions of mock shock-horror
splashed vividly on their faces.
With absent-minded candour,
not trying to be witty,
she announces at once to the gob-smacked trio:
Wrong shower, boys?
Julius sees her cross the lake —
swimmer of tall shadows . . .
It is not for conquest that he waits:
stroke by stroke he contemplates
into the evening air.
Less self-enclosed in his domain,
he sees himself self-disobey,
breaststroking out to meet her from his shape.