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14th Anniversary Edition, Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Five Nov-Dec 2023.
Elsewhere, poems by Alastair Clarke.
You might think of elsewhere
in a kind of rhapsody
of worlds “out there”
floating in blue
while world warms
sweating upon warm
upon the stink of fire
upon smoke’s blackening pyre
(you might question this line)
You might dream of elsewhere
that it’s easy to escape
Yet Elon’s other-world
It’s this that remains
All that is
Love it or leave it?
It’s love that remains
So long, this estuary, the fishing
boats moored close, lobster pots, nets strewn
over the small jetty; worn ropes from
rigging and fishing, smelling of
fishing. The calm of the inlet,
the calm inland from sea.
Trawlers, worn working boats, honest
sloops, tender dinghies on racks on
shore, scattered trolleys. Seabirds
foraging, plunging the incoming
tide. A quiet, advancing, closing
the day. This we saw, somehow in
celebration – our brief vision –
the bay, sheltered beneath low hills;
the steady rippling of small wave
following wave; of lives lived across
tides. I’ll finish. We’re leaving soon.
The light to-day in this other season.
How the little lake glistens
like glass (yes, this cliched, yet true)
while the ducks, the Canada geese
fling ripples rippling across
the glass. Here houses house the lake
while the dogs and their walkers
together make humanness.
The trees – maples mainly –are now
empty of leaves, yet the kingfishers
still swiftly pass in brief flashes
of bright green and blue.
I believe in the birds – all of them:
they are alive, are presentness.
They defy the stillness – the suburban
stillness here in all seasons.
© Alastair Clarke
Alastair Clarke is a New Zealand writer. He has recently returned to the country after years living abroad, in the U.K. and Australia. He is re-seeing his country. Poems most recently have appeared in Antipodes (U.S), Orbis (U.K.), Poetry New Zealand (2018, 2022), Landfall, Fresh Ink, A Fine Line and Ezine. His work has been published in the collections, SEEING (2022) and GREEN RAIN (2023).