Bronzewings With Lightning

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The bronzewings
come through, fossicking
in the pre-storm stillness, pecking
at the car tracks, drilling the dirt
under trees —

choosing such silence —

napes as blue-grey as the sky,
their faces that striped flash
which might happen anytime now,

in the wind-free lull pecking,
then motionless, camouflaged
in the grass,
merging invisibly
in tumbled bark’s dry litter, dead leaves,

until they’re disturbed
not worried enough to take flight
(an edge of the mind issue),
still walking ,
with an irritable glance and
mechanical jutting neck
as if someone’s pulling puppet strings
through backbone and breast structure:

they pause, then they make off
into further, deeper
middle distance, a farness
which stretches westerly under trees,
across half-cleared paddocks, wispy slopes
where dry declivities become watercourses,
under hill sides scarred with rocks —

again to rummage nervously, then freezing,
making sure they’re not seen
(indistinct, earth coloured rubble),
and when they are seen
drawing attention, like children,
to their own mimicking stillness,

such being the quiet which lets them melt
into pale straw, grey stone, fallen timber,
inexpressibly at home in tree-scattered country,
country with no edges
stretched with broken, rusty fences —
a delicate, traipsed through, low grade patch
in need of losing its melancholy,
of being restored, re-thought, re-lived —

the two bronzewings are voyagers here
hurtling through time,
held in mind for a second
under the sky’s bowl

both now evaporated into
the grass and leaves

yes, two of them

*

Things. Marks in the ground. Things tracking bare stony ground. It’s what the machine’s whirring sound seems like — a bare place with stones, pebbles, small hand-sized rocks. Car noise, plane noise. In fact, planes pass over so far up that they hang inside their own envelope of silence, like white tubes passing across a soundless screen. Sometimes you glimpse the triangular tail-fin, a flash of blue or red.

Striations. Marks in the ground. Pock marks on stone — weather spots, rain crevices. Not the same as the broad marks which late light throws in streaks across dead grass: grooves, stone-rot, revelations of sedimentary lines

Each mark has its own mind, its own reason for being. Each of them lock into invisible structures of word and thought — utterances, humming, stray thoughts, learnt thoughts . . . that thing I meant to say

that thing which could be said

Gaps, in a sense. Though there are no gaps. Closeness, though there is no distance. A full, perfect moment: but some would call it empty.

(two people not aware that they love each other)

(the sky god saturated in blue)

(two people attuned to each other)

(the give and take of love making)

(my body immersed in you)

This thought between things

*

until the thunder comes back, after a five minute rainstorm seemed to have ended the matter. The birds had gone by under the trees half an hour ago, almost as if in another world. A few minutes later, we ran back to the house, even though the clouds, becoming a single thunderhead, never fully darkened the air. The storm fell in diamond strings, fleshed with light, and then in long scattered drops, darting by, in a pattern of flashes and strips. Enough rain to soak the tin, but not much more. It had come through, moved on, as if it was wandering the country, scavenging, looking things out. The air hardly cooled: it stayed thick as a thermal blanket. Later, afternoon started shifting its light, shadows clustering on branches, down the sides of tree trunks

dull thunder noise:
it ripples somewhere —
northwards.

*

Later, too, intense whitening heat would be over for a few hours, a cool interlude lasting through the night, cooling things down, cooling the touch of wood and earth, cooling our bodies, cooling our touch, cooling caves and crevices. Everyone hopes this is what our night is like. Didn’t you feel the space then, right then, like the edge of an imaginary darkess? Didn’t you wonder at the trailings of steps and voices: across time, yes, but more across your mind. Across you, across the glimpse opening up in you

Did you remember how absorbed we were, lost in the birds as if we could drown in the blended dust and leaves

bronzewings dancing, fluttering, in the glare

dust and twigs formed, perfect, like a hearth

you leaning forward, thoughtful

while, momentarily, the cicadas start up again their wave-banks of sound, like one enormous drawn-out breath, one after the other lapping, overlapping, linking, one with another. And right in the middle of the aquamarine sky-clearing which the rain burst had made, a one-off final reminder: overhead, a last thud, a last clatter tumbling out of empty, clarified blueness as if someone larking around, laughing, inside a timber house knocks a chair over on to the wooden floor with a cracking sound we can hear from outside Yes, like a grenade exploding, a single thunder burst smacks the sky

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