Live Encounters Poetry & Writing May 2021
Special edition featuring poets from Australia & New Zealand.
John Robert Grogan is an Irish /Australian poet, who plays tradesperson by day and has been based in Sydney, Australia for over 15yrs. His upbringing in the mountains of Co. Wicklow, Ireland, time in the Mediterranean and his years in Australia, have all cultivated a fascination, love and admiration for the natural world and the connectivity of all things. In 2020 he had poems published in The Blue Nib and From Whispers to Roars literary magazine. Instagram: @jr_grogan
Shape of daydreams
My worn-down shoes step beneath a cloudy
blanket. The type we people moan about.
This menace of emu-grey, hangs low and
heavy, draped from a curvaceous nothing.
The run-out tide laps the webbed-feet
of a solitary tern, that looks bewildered
at the absence of his beloved.
both, the clouds shift, tear apart to reveal
radiant strings that stretch into the sea,
set to wake a world ill-prepared for day.
Reflections sung by swallows on a lamp
trigger refractions, pre-birth memories
of instinctive allegiance to morning light.
Its fortitude, our shared battle with night.
Born a summer baby, born into sun,
here I am equally a celebrant
Of darkness. This gloom that also worships
is the bellows to my forge, drawing life
from the breath, coaxing hot tears and laughter
from the belly, as the winds change again.
Their endless coalescence are wordless
prayers in the shape of daydreams, as forgot-
ten as time in the hands of carefree youth.
If only you were here to see this now,
how it all unpacks itself, untroubled
and divine. Hope passes by on a red
bicycle, nods a wink of knowing change.
A new melody drowns the gentle sounds
of timid waves, as the blossoms unfold.
Love in a Wild Heart
When I forget her, all is not well,
and the well is deep, and so I fall, and in the air
I hear cries of yellow-tailed black cockatoos.
They gather in the wind to threats of rain,
playful in the pines with cones unfallen
from last autumn. I dream of being one
of them, as a wild heart beats for truth.
I’ve learned the lunar side of love lives
in the inside pocket of a tweed jacket
my grandfather never made. And it matches
the feathers of a nightjar, that match
the leaves of the forest floor.
It wears a track down to the sea,
so I can wash my wings and breathe.
It makes an ache, here, in my silent home,
and makes me sound a little desperate.
I hold no quarrel with silence, we are
best friends, but sometimes I wish she could make
us tea. Perhaps a side of custard creams.
Grá —LOVE— in my language, foils the luscious-
ness of tongue play. A raw and primal call
to times before the daisy chain was a crown,
and a ribbon bound you to your beloved.
It points to the daredevil dance, the round
the bonfire enchanted romance, to the flicker
of lives upon this earth and in our lovers’ eyes.
This light, the pulse, inside your eager heart
that holds tight a gentle hand, draws close
to nuzzle a soft face into a nape,
to feel a warm breath, take it in, the scent of skin.
So breathe love in. Let time stand still, and hold.
Let love be home.
Sky and I
I RACE myself and light to the sunrise,
to stain senses, turquoise, green and rose-gold.
I steal away by moon to sea, to sigh
and gently wake my heart, softly behold
This glory for my eyes. The morning breaks
slick, glassy, even though the sloppy crawl
splash of a braver-than-I swimmer’s wake,
parts long across the high-tide shark-net walls.
Above, sunlight draws colour from darkness,
beckons rise to the cormorants and waves,
startles whitebait’s silver-arrowed stillness
to evade some savage mouth. Foretold fates
kiss prismatic skies. Fortunes breathe, hearts rush,
below this cosmic painter and their brush.
© John Robert Grogan