Stragglers

Don’t be in a hurry, the buds tell me.

Open when you’re ready.

What does it matter if others blossom

before you?

Remember the gulls

how they fly in loose formation over the sea

at sunset,

how there’d always be some bringing up the rear,

the stragglers.

It’s not a race as our Prime Minister said.

They get there in their own sweet time.

Like my teachers said of me, you may be slow, John,

but you get there in the end,

It’s okay to be a straggler.

Backs to the Sea

People who live here, he said, live with their backs to the sea.

And I said, how could anyone turn their backs to the sea?

And I thought of mum, before she was hauled away, saying,

I want to go back to the sea again,

how she sounded like Miranda the mermaid who had strayed

from her home

but when she got her wish, when we got her into a retirement home

on the esplanade, she grew jaded.

What’s wrong, mum? we asked.

I want to go home, she said. I want to go back where I lived with dad.

But you’ve got a ringside seat, mum, to the Southern Ocean. A view to die for.

It’s not the same, she said, not when you see the same thing day after day.

But we sat with her, watching the red sun sit on the lip of the horizon like a wafer,

the seabirds flying home, and a kind of calm settled on her.

Spent

Now it is spent and lying limp

and placid at my feet —

a contentment of inky blue

but the other day if you

could have seen it bucking

with energy , flailing its

wild hair and arching its back

[ sea mountains surfers abseiled

down ] you would not have been

surprised to see it thrust

its loins again and again against

the soft white dunes nor after

to see the body of the foreshore

bruised and torn nor its rump

so foam wracked .

pic by Lachlan-Ross on Pexels

On the Shortest Day

On the shortest day

I take the longest run

between one jetty and the next

and back again

rest myself against the rump

of a dune

listen to the sea shanties of the waves

while a mermaid appears, rises above the waves

swinging her wild, wild hair

in the sun-drenched breeze

until spotting me she coyly slips

beneath the water.

The jetty wades a little deeper into the sea

to catch a glimpse.

On the shortest day I tell

the tallest tales.

Put a Moat Around it

I have a mote in my left eye

not the metaphoric one that Jesus

spoke of

but an actual one of grit.

I have amoat in my head too

which is metaphoric.

It cuts me off from needy people

which is kinda funny

coz I’m needy too.

Some people are overly guarded.

Too many moats to cross.

Australia has a moat,

a helluva big one

called the Pacific Ocean

on one side

& the Indian on the other

the one that boat people crossed

to get to Australia.

One family from Vietnam

lived across the road from us

for years.

I wrote about the man, the grandfather

in my first book.

[I’ll post it tomorrow]

A moat as big as the ocean

is hazardous.

Not everyone made it back then.

The Earth is surrounded

by a moat too

the vast star-studded ocean

of space.

I could go on but this poem

is starting to drift.

so I’m going to put a moat around it

and close it off.

* photo by juvnsky-enton-maksimor on Unsplash

The Moment

Whales!

I heard there were whales lunging out of the water

At Henley South,

“sleek and smooth as peach slices”,

One eye witness said.

I finished what I was doing and went down

For a look.

But the sea was flat and empty.

There were only a pair of cyclists on the other side

Doing up their clips

And a pelican amongst the gulls gazing wistfully to a spot

Where something might have been.

No sun was out. The sky was whale-grey.

I had missed the moment.

Little White Horses

 

music

 

I was tearing along the coastal route

The little white horses racing into shore

When this song came over the radio

And galloped into my heart.

I pulled over onto the shoulder.

I was transported.

I closed my eyes and let the music

Take me.

8.30 seconds later I was released.

It was good to hear Derek and The Dominoes again.

It was good to hear ‘Layla’

 

What songs stop you in your tracks, transport you to other places? What songs do you pull over for?