THE WIND CHIME
for Fiona Baigrie
There was never any door to it, except by chance
some noon. You look up, glance into a kitchen yard:
a day like any other as summer draws to its close,
but faded like the dunes, dune-hay beyond Kalk Bay,
a sea-wind strengthening all through the morning,
the car-parks along the beaches all of them empty now
but for the municipal trucks, the waste collection;
and the children already three weeks back at school.
There was no key, for you, except a yard like this,
its old cement, swept yesterday, swept again by wind,
the bougainvillaea, its leaves like flesh, leaf-shadow
ripened, black, a shadow-fruit in the noon glitter,
and almost lost within it, scarcely heard at first
against the tidal roar, so huge the weather here –
three notes, silver, tubular: the music of a wind chime
scattering in the sunlight, in one backyard above the sea.
Lost and found, and lost again, the bay behind it
stretching, faded, its blue indifference in the wind –
but this is my philosophy, my poetry, my poverty.
I can offer no more than one chance day
loosened by the weather – the moment of a wind chime
as it comes and goes, swaying in a random air,
its three notes intimate with their own oblivion,
shadowed, even as they shower, by their evanescence.
I can bring only what such things bring
on vanishing: a day, a space still more deserted
than these stalled and vacant suburbs by the sea;
a place where you, again, are granted entry,
here, where there is found what is found now:
that time itself has thickened, its shadow-fruit
this sun, this noon, a wind chime in a sea-wind,
and in your hands, your empty hands, the flesh of time.