Light

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Evening, winter.
Light is slapped and shoved by an ice wind.
Stacked like glass in sheets or panes,
back behind the hill the light tips, rotates,
angles awkwardly;
cold prisms.

Moonlight from a full moon that rises so fast and red
it mimics a stump on fire
jumping away from its own conflagration.
As it bounces higher becoming yellow then silver,
coarse grainy photons slide lizardlike
through windows, across beds, painting arms or chairs white.
Moonlight slurs under rugs, sinuous, marine or atomic,
imploding in the darkest corners.
Outside it slicks grass, covers over lambs,
subdues the rat.
Its beams ignite the fox, blacken poplars,
commemorate the hare.

Torchlight
always irregular, either bobbing or wavering.
Carried by giants, then ants.
One buttery beam in an inkiness by the shed.
Ineffectual, saying, ‘Don’t touch me.’
Illuminating a single concern.
Frightened but steadfast.
Determined on its destination, a needle in a black haystack.

Firelight.
From stacks of logs burning,
from bonfires in solid paddocks.
Nothing emanates but that slipping,
jumping, flicking.
Firelight from logs draws people and animals
mesmerised, content with elementals.
They trace spark gushes that whoosh into the air.
The could burn up and still feel an implacable happiness.

Dawn and fog;
only the roosters know it
making muffled calls far out in the frost.
The pines emerge out of the eye’s corner.
On the balance the night hesitates.
Crows on fence posts wait the day shift.
Bedraggled but powerful light changes everything,
and the blood surges,
the heartvalves open and shut
like expectant clams, the mind ticks over
and once again we appropriate the earth.

Where is the midday light in this soft country?
The light that clanged on tin sheds,
pulverised metal?
That made the dust flatten, that baked tracks,
made creek banks ceramic?
I remember the tropical light of mid-summer,
intense as the pause before the sledgehammer drops.
Hard light and heat in conjunction
sheering off paspalum
turning bitumen molten.

The light of late afternoon clearskinned with promises.
In the tops of trees and slanting down valleys.
Irradiating dust motes, shining on drifts of smoke
and into cows’ eyes with glassy perfection.
Leaving lambs bouncing on rocks,
allowing predilections in dogs
who race straight up sun shafts.
Back behind the hill light tips, rotates,
the angles dropping fast through cold prisms.

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