Poetry Shelf connections: 4 poems from Tony Beyer

 

Loose leaf

  

hard to tell if the rain

enhances or limits contagion

 

its voice in the night

calms the anxious world

 

the dog involves himself

in a tighter knot of sleep

 

surprising how the mind

almost emptied of hope

 

is also empty of fear

unless concern for everyone

 

not just one

is not love but fear

 

dawn and birds return

and the dog wakes expectantly

 

my neighbour over the fence

lets me know how they’re doing

 

nothing dramatic

but nothing as usual either

 

and in the bare streets

maybe hope too will return

 

 

Mourning the normal world

 

a café table

or on the back porch at home

 

a hug from a friend

or seated alone

 

leafing through new books

just bought from Unity

 

a grandchild conversing

earnestly with the dog

 

frisbee or touch in the park

with brothers and their sons

 

wives of both generations

shaking their heads

 

at immemorial

masculine folly

 

a cousin from the UK

staying for a week or a month

 

vegetables exchanged

garden to garden

 

shared home baking

and home preserves

 

 

 

Upside

 

yet the wind still

dries the washing on the line

 

and the sky intermittently blue

over Taranaki

 

encourages us

grizzling into the garden

 

voices on the other side

of fences are reassuring too

 

already halfway

through Zola’s Earth

 

which took some exhuming

from dust on the shelf

 

the message is it’s really

the planet and our attention to it

 

that matters

and like frost on winter stubble

 

or deceased parents

spared all this by chronology

 

we are useful

and expendable

 

 

 

Black hat

 

the virus rode in

from points north

on a sickly horse

 

it was worse

than politics

or target practice

 

it stole conversation

and book shops

and football

 

it stole lives too

each of them

irreplaceable

 

days like a tide

receded after it

leaving sadness bare

 

explaining to

children and old

folks was difficult

 

something we’d

done or not done

something shameful

 

Tony Beyer

 

Tony Beyer writes in Taranaki. His recent work can be found online in Hamilton Stone Review, Mudlark and Otoliths; and is forthcoming in print in Kokako and Landfall.

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