James Walton – A Levee to Absence

James Walton LEP&W V3 Dec 2022

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Three December 2022.

A Levee to Absence, poems by James Walton.

A Levee to Absence

the cards are brief this year
in shallow condolence
a levee to absence, broken

the scattered sorrow
left for salvage
how they talk of passing

yet visit as though gentle as
the first faint call
the quiet summons to duty,

steadfast the whether of breaks
the happiest dispersed

days drag through cement
mercury for the veins of us
caught in winter, November

veers without season
too cold for painting
this colour we were

a dash to break a sentence
run for cover, highlight
crimson for specifics

an outline to bridge
this stalling year’s account

supernumerary to how and why
between twig and wake
this inconvenient bird

a rustle of dark, nests
then stirs unbeckoned
daubed as it must be

wily and propped against
a door of feathers for words
open notebook of hours

I sit the post waiting
sandbagging against breach

Early Winter, June storm

No electricity. This failed proof.
Wind and ocean boom in from the south.
On the shallow reef waves churn counter clockwise
lost for hemisphere. The sea shreds dreams,
Scandi furniture swept beyond the point.
The great night settles wraps coast and land,
for forty hours a stagger of centuries
turns on and off while tide and air detonate.

A fontanelle sun illuminates horizons,
a broken rainbow drifts. Under the peppermint gum
a ring tail possum is hard and cold,
the white point if its tail in exclamation.
I carry the form cradle like, beneath the longhand
of leafless silver birches now letters to a friend –
the paws folded in acolyte worship,
to a soft place beneath the strawberry tree.

Deep into mulch. A layer of sweet blossom and sour fruit
to delay the remorseless fox. The garage door incessant,
in dis chord of striking back and forth
and on a makeshift hassock ponder the reach,
as birds chime renewal through a fog witness
the bleak erasure opening a hymnal surround –
unspoken things are laid to rest ancient trees lie shattered,
how light prevails in a fragile summons.

I wanted to say

It seemed a long time
that slow bulk carrier swan rise
wing drawn idling years
the season always summoning
us away to the other landing site
tantalising until the stalling crash
against the slide of doorway there
you see yourself exposed
diminished scrabbling down from impact
lost mid- flight legs up
every fault for display
on your back then considering
turbulence beating without rhythm
wondering at such familiarity
looking on ourselves stunned in transit
rolling backwards the glassy night sky
above and mirrored for arrival
as the faces of so many
you in there amongst them
look out to your departure
the porch light globe exhausted

© James Walton

James Walton is published in many anthologies, journals, and newspapers. He has been shortlisted for the ACU National Poetry Prize, the MPU International Poetry Prize, The James Tate Prize, and the Ada Cambridge Prize. Four collections of his poetry have been published. He was nominated for ‘The Best of the Net’ 2019, and was a Pushcart Prize 2021 nominee. He is a winner of the Raw Art Review Chapbook Prize. His fifth poetry collection, Snail Mail Cursive, will be published by Ginninderra Press shortly.

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