All afternoon the sun sinks, falls away
from its height. Shade in the leaves
in the trees outside. I feel this, I say
but this will pass – down-go-the-leaves.
The sun follows suit and shadows rise.
They rise like a felon over brickwork
walls, then hunt down paths, chastise
lanes to stake a clear case for the dark.
Crosswise in a hoodie and tight black
jeans, they’ll switch the light and leave no trace –
then slate the hands of the old town clock
and stick wild gloom on a new moon’s face.
Befallen, they come again, around and around,
lurking black-booted over the guardian ground.
We made a run for it as we entered
….the park, ducked the swooping wing-
beats and nipping beaks of maddened
….yellow-eyed birds. We ran panicked
across the lumpy earth, tripping our
….way over ditches and trunkish roots
to the two end plank that pivoted
….on a stump; first hurdle of the world…
We were barely the weight to sink
….one side, we straddled on at spirit level
and dug our heels in and dangled
….our feet, you with your knees locked
and pushing, me hoisted up into the blue;
….the wild descent into free-fall felt
like a whirlwind blowing in my gut.
….We loved the jarring clunk at the top,
the jolt hurtling us out of our seats,
….and the sudden hilarity of seeing
our hair whooshed into a mid-air quiff.
….The backdrop blurred as we ascended;
the sky and rooftops, the grey-box maze.
….We were airborne, elevated, catapulted
in-flight. At angles, en route, our limbs
….rebounded as our feet touched ground.
Let’s take a train
or maybe just go for a drive.
Let’s just sit in the car
as the wheels turn,
as the wind blows off
over the hood and the hubs.
Look, the kerb up ahead is a kerb.
Why not just roll around it?
Why not just relax and gaze into the flash
and blur of the tanglewood and trees –
let us slow down and merely take a look.
We can go as near or far into the woods as we like.
Listen. Do you hear that? The rustling air,
that quiver of leaf. The rule of thumb that makes
everything here slow up, bend, halt, go shhh.
ABOUT THE POET
Todd Turner lives and works in Sydney with his partner and his daughter. His poems have appeared in various journals, newspapers and anthologies including Meanjin, Australian Poetry Journal, Cordite, Islet, Overland, Quadrant, Southerly, The Weekend Australian and Verity La. In 2013 he was awarded the inaugural Jean Cecily Drake Brockman Poetry Prize. He was highly commended in the 2011 Blake Poetry Prize and shortlisted for the 2010 Newcastle Poetry Prize. His first collection of poetry Woodsmoke has just been published through Black Pepper Publishing.
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