Poem – Lynn Davidson

 

Leaving Wellington

At dawn I caught a taxi to the airport

and saw first light ignite the hillside houses –

and I thought about how still life artists deepen

the surface of their objects with a bloom

that, without saying, evokes a place with people

the way those rising houses implied rooms

to escape the wind, to circle in, to slacken.

 

The plane drops its grey shadow in the sea

and the shadow pulls back slightly, like an anchor.

 

Hours go by and elements still gather.

Each day my waking children, just by naming

assembled all the solid things of world:

the bath, stove, chair, the bed, the window,

the shoe, the dinosaur, the door, the wall.

Then in a kind of via negativa

they composed two empty rooms by leaving home.

 

I said it was an anchor but it’s not.

It’s a shadow roughly like a kiss.

 

Some say that planes are dead and airless spaces.

Not dead, I think, but deep, with lights on exits.

We tilt into thin air, that fragile outscape,

we press our bulk against some scrubby cloud,

as though against our mother’s side for safety

as though there is a place for us to hide.

 

Then this second dawn that rises all around me –

this long, slow morning with its double bloom –

evokes those first, wild moments of strange waking

from the dream’s uncanny tilt to steady form.

 

Inside the plane we turned to face our windows,

we clutch of hatchlings straining from our nests.

The ground like an oiled platform lifts to meet us

and we fumble with warm buckles on our laps.

 

We stand in aisles with fists around our baggage.

We stand in isles with wintered earth behind.

We stand like grass in summer, barely moving,

 

yet like an ear the earth hears news of us.

 

Inside our cells the numbers of our children.

Inside this surface life, a living room.

 

 

Lynn Davidson

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