Poem of the Month, July 2016: “Gale” by Susan O’Brien

Sue O'Brien
Sue O’Brien


The roistering gale from the West
shrieks round building walls
and summons sheet metal thunder
from the rain water tanks
We are besieged by sound.

Trees on the far ridge whip and flail,
drunken cheer leaders against shredding sky,
hailstone missiles streak
through horizontal rain

I more deeply understand
the welcome swallows’ nest:
under the widest eave,
plastered to the wall
even now
it is safe in the wind shadow

Startled out of sleep at three a.m.
we pull on clothes
in case, in case….
but our house too holds steady
there is no need to flee
into the maelstrom…

Sleep again overtakes us

At first light the silence shocks:
survivors are stunned but standing
the fallen indeed are fallen
and sadly, amongst their silent ranks
our Number One Yacca is down

Here before white settlement
prized for food and tinder
for weapons and glue
survivor of roaring bush fires –
resin rubies shining
between charred leaf bases,
this one legged ancient
finally felled
by the blow and suck of air.

Susan O’Brien

Pic courtesy of Martin Christmas.