This one is a treasured favourite. Robert is an old friend, or is an old friend’s partner, who I have had the honour to meet a number of times, and have found to be completely wonderful. He is patient, thoughtful, kind and dedicated, a true gentleman. I have Afterimages, which is the collection this poem is in, and his memoir, The Land I Came Through Last.
Reading it makes me miss Sydney, those steamy hot days, tropical storms, the slow, sticky nights that hang - misting up windows and softening the sheets with humidity and sweat. He captures it all and so much more in this beautiful poem.
A still house smudged with lamps, outside there’s rain
Open windows, verandah, TV moon
next door, amongst the dark fronds, the typewriter
sounds of wetness, and bougainvillea,
that’s cruel as wires, trimmed away between
each carved post. Those petals make their clamour
silently, held by heat of the houselight
in high arc, above the steps. There hovers
a red surf, slung from darkness. In the night
the light-pole’s standing as though a fountain;
its cowl run soda-white, as rains thicken.
So indoors once more, my hand now wanders
on books, and I’ve come sidling through the quiet
into the richness, the rot of flowers.