Window

At the window in my front room
I watched umbrellas go up the hill
struggling in furious autumn gale
most black, some red or comically transparent
pulled down upon a woman’s shoulders
to protect her new hairdo from the rain.

The Georgian bay window shielded me from rain.
I loved to be alone. That cold front room
with long net curtains wrapped around young shoulders
and the weather beating, shining or racing down the hill
was my castle; huge windows on a world transparent,
sheltered from the furious autumn gale.

Round I whirled, a leaf dancing in the gale,
moving faster and higher, inspired by the rain.
The net meant giant windows were transparent
only from the inside, so to a clunky sale room
gramophone weighted with pennies, I was me on that hill,
before the world could press upon my shoulders.

I smelled the musty net around my shoulders
and knew the world was old and furious, though its gale
and torrential outpouring never rested on our hill,
forming pools in parks where tourists pulled on rain-
coats and stirred coffee with plastic spoons, in a room
where an organ played and people’s smiles were transparent.

When my cousin came, we served homemade sweets on transparent
plates and put on a show. On young shoulders
responsibility for choreography and costume. Front room
filled with patient eyes, we would anxiously regale
our aunties, mums and Nanna with entertainment, rain
dancing in accord, outside, thunder clapping on the hill.

Of course, I grew up, and went out from the hill,
down into murky valleys, away from transparent
umbrellas, aunties and sticky sweets, out into rain
that seemed more inhospitable when it landed on shoulders
bent and bowed with the weight of life’s gale.
But part of me will always dance in that front room.

Meet me on the hill, put a scarf around my shoulders,
transparent rivulets in a furious autumn gale,
blessed by rain, with no umbrella, let us dance in my front room.

Jacob’s Angel

In the Mersey is an angel who is twisting to her beat.
Blown far off heaven’s dance floor, all his holy plans awry,
the angel arches, smiles and twisting, feels the sun beneath his feet.
Her jilted history knocked and settling into awful grim defeat,
the river lashes hard on northern shores to stick and stay.
In the Mersey is an angel who is twisting to her beat.
The Mersey’s bitter kiss holds men to anchor in the deep,
she calls them home but falsely with her widow’s waves of grey.
The angel arches, smiles and twisting, feels the sun beneath his feet.
So many ardent loves have lost their head to her entreat,
and lately found, they stiffly swim their honey’s moon away.
In the Mersey is an angel who is twisting to her beat.
As the angel dips his blessed arms, to caress her winter sweet,
she rains her blows and wraps her sturdy thighs about his waist;
the angel arches, smiles and twisting, feels the sun beneath his feet.
And still cursing broken promises, she leans into his weight
as Liver birds look discreetly on, to flit another day.
In the Mersey is an angel who is twisting to her beat;
the angel arches, smiles and twisting, feels the sun beneath his feet.