Winter 2005-6

Joan Poulson


because last week I stepped sideways, dancing into risk,
not letting sly questions, censuring anthems insinuate

because I ignored small coral snakes slithering through my bed
the fruit bats (dark and leathery) swooping round me on the lake

forgot the loving father who led me to the forest
eased away his mask and tried to strangle me
became the Critic of Greek tragedy
huge and harsh and peremptory as a stepmother in Grimm

because I flew, samba'd into fire
because I tasted emerald wetness in the waterfall
laughed with the hooligan swifts that never desert me

the ceanothus bush that is really a tree erupted -
cloud of intense cobalt flame licking the sky, teasing the earth

and I am swimming with the clown fish with the manta ray the turtle
swimming in lapis and sapphire
in trickling lava slipping from the mountain
oozing from the oracle in green-lapped caves

swimming in juices of olive and eucalyptus
in moon-streaked purple

become circus, become fair-ground, become elephant
in the jungle, become ladybird and acorn and tiniest oak tree.



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