By Mike Johnson
Well, the alive poetry thread has not been that alive lately, so it was wonderful to receive these poems from Gael Johnson from Gt Barrier Island.
Maybe it’s a swan or a hearing aid
Possibly it’s a memory aid to stop the confusion my children visit upon me
“don’t you remember?”
Of course I do
I remember a swan that became a hearing aid
Isn’t that enough?
How can you not understand that what I am looking at is a small spot of paint on my floor?
It is a swan Lithe and Beautiful.
And another one
bites the dust
Outliving our bodies; requiring replacement knees, hips, hearts
Requiring the blood of the young
To live beyond one’s given work, outlive one’s swan
To live into poverty and not be able to cut wood
Wood and a swan, I do not need a hearing aid
The problem is wood
Wood cut wood unchopped wood to burn wood to be split
The problem is wood, it will rain again and again
Of course it will
Well where is the nicely split wood to burn?
Burning with pain
Burning in my chest
Determined not to eat salmon fed on offal
Whitebait fed on chicken shit
Determined to live an ideal: wood
I have lived as a swan; calm, silent engaged only with water and eternity
Now I live with wood; the need for it, the difficulty of it, the intractability of it
The damned confusion of defending my soul from derision:
I can remember many dances of the soul, slow graceful dances and exhausting nights of impassioned non-sleep
exhausted by wondering if I have heard correctly, if I observed correctly?
Was that a gun the 9 year old had in her hand or a phone?
It wasn’t a swan.
Today I saw a swan
curled inside my daughter, waving at me
knowing I was not confused, waving at me from that interior place
A swan possibly forming: from fish to frog to bird to soul to swan curled into a safe place
dreaming of wood, dreaming of blue open waters, dreaming of flying