What this day needs

by little red pen

This is for you if ― like mine ― your day needs a poem. Well, really, what my day needs is a bevy of friends and a gin and tonic and someone else to put the baby to bed, just for one night. And a walk in the clean, cool air and five minutes to hold together a sense of myself, underneath those pressing roles I hold ― mother, partner, daughter, editor. Anyway, I’m going to yoga, which is a bit like a gin and tonic, but with less garrulous laughter, so really, no, not like a gin and tonic at all. And I went hunting for a poem, then realised, again, that almost all our books are in storage and we really should get a house, if only to have somewhere for bookshelves to go. But my aunt did lend me a book of poems  when we visited, so I flickered through it, and this is what I found.

Quiet

turn it off

listen to the cicadas
listen to that knock of branches
listen just to the wind ―
here it is, rolling now
like a pitching wave into the trees
erasing the crazed and cross-tracked footprints of static

in what you took for silence
listen to the dry wood
catching, at this perfect moment, in the stove

stop, and you’ll hear it;
the stretch and crack and tick
of the thin metal flue
expanding in the heat

oh, you are beaten so thin
and still the joins hold,
still that bloom of warmth
opening up
more than enough

and your hands
still feeling the shape
of the kindling, the axe, the tree;
the flexing
of your own bird-fine bones.

Cate Kennedy, “Quiet”, The Taste of River Water (Carlton North, VIC, Australia: Scribe, 2011), p. 36.