Hard buckshot comes the rain, the first monsoon rain,
the first ever real rain for months.
All conversation dies, all plans are abandoned,
even dogs raise their heads to the sky.
The heat disappears, now almost forgotten
as some of us shiver out our disbelief.
Old stains on the road are washed out of sight,
dead ice cream is hosed away, buried at last.
Talk is redundant, too noisy to hear,
this torrent commands all attention.
The scent of new rain kills all competition,
douses diesel fumes and flowers alike.
A dog on the road stands alone and gets wet,
head bowed in childlike wonder
at the mystery of great change
and all other heads watch its thanks, base humility,
and some will even weep – weep for the simplicity they envy
or some dare to hope they will share.
If there is a god it is visiting now,
uniting all creatures under cloud, under sun.
For if man and dog can share a same joy,
perhaps we are,
despite constructed layers,
perhaps we are really all one.
Flooding gutters cascade over trash,
waterfall down to blocked drains.
The street floods in pockets, then the whole street,
then the sidewalk, then the lowest lying stores.
Broom patrol waitresses fight the rising tide of belief,
fail miserably, and give up.
After a while the clouds blow away –
heaven has blown past within them.
Faces left behind in bars drop smiles and retreat
to laughter and beer and the football.
A miracle’s passed, they now call it rain,
as brushes with paradise may also be swept away.
Yet childhood laughter resonates, some seeps through
the cracks and follows, dancing,
as the dog wanders on ahead in its joy, wags its tail,
and runs to avoid a motorcycle.
The road becomes stained with mud and new trash
as diesel fumes reclaim twilight.
Argo, the tour boat, entered the harbour
avoided the pleasure craft and on this boat
the local passengers in flapping polyester
and new haircuts and ruined curls
blowing twenty knots
surrounded the youth holding onto his jacket
and also holding onto
Past goddesses, gods,
moulded by Helios –
waxed, bronzed then gold-plated,
laid out by the shore.
Past princesses, princes,
at play in their kingdoms –
afloat pink flamingos,
castles made of sand.
They passed and they stared
and when the Argonauts
saw this, the scene
they waved with open hearts and
shouted their thanks and
through this act they
felt as one acknowledged.
One quick loop and they stopped not,
the opulence around them
a siren of future happiness.
Satisfied, they left the bay
rounded the headland
ignored the howling wind
and were gone.
Bone dry sheet of light
pristine new unsalted, unshatupon
and then the rigging, unstreaked stainless
yet covered with flapping gulls
She floats, chained to the bay
her hull as blue as the paint that
slick assurance for the cruising type
her sisters green already.
Straight from Leros, from the marina,
A blow in, lowered from a calm sky
onto a lazy sea –
all thirty-two foot Legend without traces
Archangelos! How you play and hide
your charcoal dolphins in the deep turquoise,
mauve thyme bouquets for a mermaid long ago
among the landed ruins where
Orna once conceived and another caught Jupiter
hiding past the boom.
A night past full moon you declared a boat
would last forever.
Beyond the thirty-two years of Orna’s child
beyond time and ageing
has always been the Legend.
Monsoon and other Poems by Glenn Whalan
About the contributor
Glenn Whalan is an Australian adventurer and nomad. He realises that exploration takes many forms, both outer and inner, and writes to examine both the fluid nature of reality and the intrinsic oneness of existence. Major influences include the transcendental poetry of Les Murray and the Zen Poets. His work has appeared in New Asian Writing and The Wild Word.