Monday, April 08, 2013

The Domain

The citizens of an anonymous small town
are proud to announce that the
t-shaped domain is finally open to the
public again; a lengthy gravel drive to a
short square bare grassed area.
A cross with the top lopped off.

No swings tinkle or squeal.
No slides harbour leafy litter.
No space for yet-to-be-pegged tents.
No view through tangled macrocapra,
but dust-encrusted hedge along the edge:
a blind grassed and gravelled alley,
a dead-end, a cul-de-sac,
a trap, but not for the sun.

Originally published on geocites, early this century.

There's a photograph

There's a photograph taken of me
when I was still a youngish man - thirty -
still a new father, and I'm standing in the
garden of our rented ramshackle house -
with floors that slanted away from each other
and a hall that ran down to the kitchen,
and an outside toilet where you sat and saw the stars -
and I'm dressed, at my wife's behest,
in the uniform supplied by the Post Office
(from some depot in Waikikamukau
or possibly Timbuktu):
a jacket too short
and shorts too long,
bloomers extending down to the knees,
and my hair, in the fashion of the day,
(just before men reverted to short and neat)
is down to my shoulders - I'm all hair -
with a beard that covers much of my face
and glasses that cover my eyes,
and I'm grinning at the camera and
the absurdity of the clothes
which my wife would shortly after alter
to a non-schoolboy-of-the-forties look.

The sun shines behind me on the potato patch
I'd dug from hardened soil with my own strength,
and my toddler daughter isn't in the picture,
but may have been just about to walk into it,
chanting Dadda, Dadda, just as my granddaughter
now imperiously cries on entry into the two-storey house
where we brought up her mother, and two each of
aunts and uncles: Granddug!

Wash House and Coal Shed

Wash House and Coal Shed 

Cracked wood windowsills.
Soaked sacks of blue lean
snug-cornered, warmed
against the window glass;
sunlight slinks round
shrugged-shoulder curves;
sunbeams on wood beams
light motes that pass.

Raw-elbowed arms chuck
clothes frozen in the tubs;
mangle chokes torsos,
loins, breasts and necks;
sun strikes the face poles
from thick-socked foot frosts;
cane-wickered basket creaks.

Bare throat-choking dwangs;
black sacks of coal lean,
down-trodden crones, thrown,
dragged and lugged
across cracked wooden boards;
drained dugs, dead-weights,
blind drunk and befuddled.

A poem written a number of years ago, previously published on geocities 

Morning, Maori Rd

Morning, Maori Rd by Mike Crowl

My toe-in-the-hole shoes
high-five with the path;
pass a fierce foreign jogger.

Shivering leaves -
sequestered birds
snatch-clutch branches.

Tone-deaf, one makes slate scratches,
an ill-hinged door touched by a gasp at midnight.

One pitches his song perfect on the
smooth blue sky puddle -
with no visible ripples.

Water winks at me once only
and in fresh-found self-esteem
from recent rain
proclaims itself a stream. 

First published in the Otago Daily Times several years ago

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Romance for Celia

Romance for Celia
I want to put large scented roses in your hair,
and cover you with petals,
so you smell sweeter than a
garden in the high summer.

I want to cover you with oil of aloes
and lay you in a bed of sweet-smelling pine,
a large fluffy blanket protecting you
from the pine needles beneath.

I want to stroll with you through large gardens,
along paths where flowers invade the stones
and bees are happy gathering nectar
and flying to their hives,
where butterflies of unimaginable colours
wink and glitter in the sun.

I want to sit under the umbrella shade
of a pink and white blossoming tree,
with a picnic hamper spread before us
full of luscious strawberries and boysenberries,
and cool drinks of orange and lemon,
and lean against you
and you against me
and be content with each other's company.

Written in April 2006, previously published on Authspot.

No doubt some wit in ancient days

No doubt some wit in ancient days
Seeing his lover’s silken hair
Swirling in the waves where she lay
Sun-pressed upon an azure sea
Thought how like the skeins of seaweed
Sweeping back and forth along the rocks
It looked, and later, enticed into her arms upon the sand
Smiled and said she’d drawn him to his doom.

No doubt a cynic seaman some time later,
Recipient of a Dear John letter from his lover,
Seeing fellows dashed upon the rocks,
Their bodies broken in the sea skeins
Rocking forwards backwards with the waves
Thought how his lover’s long hair had swept
Around his head, blinding him to her deceit,
And called those skeins the same:
False lovers enticing men unto their doom.

No doubt some storyteller drew the skeins
And gave them names - the Sirens:
Deceiving women lying naked on the rocks,
Calling, with caressing song, and
Drawing men long kept from love and its
Enticements, drawing them to danger,
Blinding eyes to rocks that break the
Strongest boats and shatter hearts that
Beat with greatest strength;
Ill-use where desire whelms brain and
Commonsense is blinded to its doom.

First draft written early January 2004 - previously published on Authspot