Pardon the Setting Sun
I linger at the bridge; and I remember another time on this bridge,
I was the child painting the sky orange; but, here now,
my hair has bristled; — the sun fingers it, but
I sink deep below the shadow on the horizon.
O vineyard below the hills! Carry not my dreams, my forgetfulness,
bless not my days as I pardon the setting sun. I see no
message cradled in these clouds; I beg not.
O torrid truth! Has my day mellowed like wine and cheese?
An equanimity of brambles and nettles, a final spark of sun
cluttering up every confined space, for a myriad of reasons.
O continents and new moons! O confused collection
of constellations! When time has come to meet me
with a cold shoulder, I dare not order another whiskey,
nor hold my breath; I triple the colours on my palette: —
I yield every transgression to the cloud curtain behind which
the sun, now mellow, trails off in slow motion below the horizon
Almost unnoticed night slips in as the last daylight skirts towards
upside down orange on a peace-silver sky, glistening bright
All along the river-walk lawnmowers sing their final songs while
flocks of magpie geese nestle their young in lullaby-croaks
The mango trees, in a stir of night preparation, stretch out and
offer their branches to doves and cockatoos and honey-eaters
Down below along the riverbed, fishermen smiling, carry
buckets of daily catch, their rods in single file like holy men
And as the day quiets in pure thought, rests soft in sound,
I find deliverance and toddle off to kiss another earth.
Dry as dust the canyon lay like a lazy secret
in 44 degrees. Embalmed in its bosom it
held the truth of all the past and all the future
There, in an unexpected jubilation surrounded
by densely vegetated savannah plains and
peace-blue skies, birds reveal their mysteries
With water bottle and no hats we made the
descent like an easy chapter down the rocky
slopes, loitering from shade to shade around
the devil’s elbow, eager to be lured into the
murky pools below. The air held its breath
as we were challenged to stay ahead of the sun
marking its way to a cloudless noon. Shortly
ahead was a lone traveller, as silly as us, unwilling
to forego this exhilarating experience. All around,
layered in basalt and coloured sandstone, the
cliffs stood erect, prominent, unperturbed and
silent with authority, a picture of appreciation, a
pyramid of respect. Through the soil and in the
air every moment breathed tradition, yearning
the honour of the Yirendali people, stone upon
stone. Together with needle-thin cows grazing
around the cliffs’ edges, our laughter concerted
in joyous chatter with the fathers of this land
Their presence nuzzled us back to the top where,
bathed in sweat, we sipped sacredness from the
gorge – a beaker of greatness, eternally bewitched.
Martha Landman writes in North Queensland, Australia, where nature's beauty is the muse. Her work has appeared in Every Day Poets, The Camel Saloon, The Blue Hour and other online journals and anthologies.