A navigation has been made,
black swans and spoonbills
come back through all kinds of weather.
Harvest done. Soon they will start again,
rounding the plough, dry summer clods
buried in new dark furrows.
The bristled hills reach for each other
across the gully, creek makes its way there
ends in a pool with this after-sea.
Lagoon is a gathering place, waters
merge; birds find their float
and hutch and settle,
return is an instinct. Things I’ve known,
hair cut close on a woman’s neck, and how they vanish
and how they leave a touch in memory.
Return is an instinct or else it’s a wild dream
bending me to this slow water,
scud of foam and kelp,
long flying days unwind
come down. This summer
with its un-companioned course
steers me in.
Rhian Gallagher’s first poetry collection, Salt Water Creek (Enitharmon Press, London, 2003) was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for First Collection. Gallagher received the Janet Frame Literary Trust Award in 2008. Gallagher is also the author of a non-fiction book, Feeling for Daylight: The Photographs of Jack Adamson, (South Canterbury Museum, 2010).
'Lagoon' comes from Rhian Gallagher’s second collection Shift (forthcoming from AUP), which, as the blurb says - "encompasses a departure from London, where she lived for eighteen years, and a return to the pines and paddocks of the South Island. This mid-life shift involves acts of retrieval, confrontations with loss and movements towards renewal"
I find this poem very sensual, melancholy and almost electric with anticipation underneath the gentle language. I'm grateful to be sharing this preview of the collection with you and looking forward to reading the whole collection.
For more Tuesday Poems go to the Tuesday Poem hub.