[ai] night [ɪ] still [ʌ/ ʊ] mud [ɒ] common [i:] each [əʊ] own [e/ eə:] sense

[ei] pane [ɜː] world [ʊə/ u/ u:] dew [au] cloud [æ] black [ɔː/ ɔɪ ] straw

Gifts of Rain

Cloudburst and steady downpour now
for days.

Still mammal,
straw-footed on the mud,
he be
gins to sense weather
his skin.

A nimble snout of flood
licks over stepping stones
goes uprooting.

He fords
his life by sounding.



A man wading lost fields
breaks the pane of flood:

A flower of mud-

water blooms up to his reflection

like a cut swaying

its red spoor through a basin.

His hands grub

where the spade has uncastled

sunken drills, an atlantis
he de
pends on. So

he is hooped to where he planted
and sky and ground

are running naturally among his arms
that grope the cropping land.


When rains were gathering
there would be an all-night
roaring off the ford.

Their world-schooled ear

could monitor the usual
confabulations, the race

slabbering past the gable,

the Moyola harping on

its gravel beds:

all spouts by daylight
brimmed with their own airs
overflowed each barrel

in long tresses.
I cock my ear
at an absence -

in the shared calling of blood

arrives my need

for antediluvian lore.
Soft voices of the dead

are whispering by the shore

that I would question

(and for my children's sake)
about crops rotted, river mud
glazing the baked clay floor.


The tawny guttural water
spells itself: Moyola

is its own score and consort,

bedding the locale
in the utterance,

reed music, an old chanter

breathing its mists

through voweIs and history.
swollen river,

a mating call of sound

rises to pleasure me, Dives,
hoarder of common ground.