Rainy Night on Star Hill
I’m tired to the roots of my hair, but sleep won’t come.
Midnight’s long gone. Jim lies beside me,
Snoring gently as I spoon into his warmth.
The wind, like a human voice, hums in the roof beams,
And a hundred little frogs sing a descant,
Rejoicing in the rain.
Thunder rumbles in the hollows and lightning stalks the hills.
The valley’s dogs twitch and whine in their sleep.
Horses huddle together, rump-on to the rain.
The dark earth is alive. It drinks Heaven’s champagne.
Millions of white roots stir and stretch,
Feeding green growth.
The steady rain beats on and on in brush percussion.
Drunken, carolling frogs sing out their joy.
I lie still, wakeful, in this miracle tonight,
Listening to the symphony of new life in the dark.
In all of time and space, I am here,
Now, on Star Hill.
Where are you now, troubadour,
Who turned my heart with mysteries and spoiled me for the world?
Are you out there still, hiding in the eyes of strangers,
Deaf to the singing in your dreams?
Be peaceful. Take comfort,
For once you shared the song with me,
And my voice is true and my heart still free,
And if a surly world demands that you deny,
Know that I am singing, sharing
Gladly, ’til I die.
Pony Fair, Maam Cross
A rubber-booted boy in a coat too big for him,
Collie pup wedged between his heels,
Stands at the crossroads, horses all around him,
Holding his heart’s love in his hand--
A grimy hand, warm in its grip on greasy leather,
Soft against the pony’s patient face.
Leaning together, their faces sharp with cunning,
The dealers talk about the weather.
The pony sighs. The boy hunts away the flies
And wears a face of careful unconcern.
Some Thessalonian stable boy stood thus beside Bucephalus,
Waiting while Alexander broke his heart.
Soon I will be seven,
And they ask me what I’d like
For my birthday.
My friend Robert
Has a red, two-wheeler bike.
Too dangerous, they say.
Well, if I had a pistol,
With caps that make a noise
I could climb a tree
And play ambush
With the McIntyre boys.
They shake their heads at me
“But for a little girl,
A dolly, don’t you think,
Would be a nicer toy?”
I’ve got dollies.
If you ask me, dollies stink.
I wish I’d been a boy.
Did I burst into your life too soon,
Wrecking your arrangements?
Perhaps I’ve interrupted
Some sequence you’d devised;
Blundering into the path
Of your security machine,
And suddenly I’m an obstacle
To its smooth and sterile progress.
I am sorry. I misunderstood.
Now I see more clearly.
It seems I was expected
To fit, complete and finished,
In your model of perfection.
What sort of person
Would meet those criteria?
Not me. Even if I cared to.
My approach is very different.
I don’t need machinery--
Just love, and luck, and courage.
I thought I’d take your hand
And swing out over the abyss,
My faith in you as lifeline.
It never crossed my mind
That you had no faith in me.
No, I haven’t built an empire.
That’s all you see in me?
I find that disappointing.
I thought you understood.
Believing can be costly.
It can defy accounting.
Call me a debit entry,
But it’s not me who’s bankrupt.