Troubled in the Roaring Forties
Rain on a caravan roof in the Furneaux Group.
Awake late, his mind roils like the encircling sea
these dwindling fugitive nights, roils in chaos
he knows no escape from, but wants to,
toil over, children adults, problems reflecting
their parents’, grandparents’, as it is in fiction,
usual flaws, deceit, greed, a touch of the crazies.
He hears no vehicles at this witching time.
The rain’s runoff affects these lonely rutted roads.
When he came down the dark mountain earlier
he bounced and jerked like an accident test dummy.
Here in the winter dark he feels rising dread,
reads, slowing, a novelist’s memoir of his parents,
an inventory of muted regret steered toward death.
Earlier still, cloud mantling jagged mountaintops,
he waded in brine until staggering out bone-cold,
unnoticed, skin, sun spots multiplying, mottled.
He has medicine, mourns people he once cared for,
mourns Donald Trump’s effect on the not guilty,
seeks solace in his football team’s fraught season,
down but fighting, a trace of the past’s conjured magic.
Ian C Smith’s work has appeared in Amsterdam Quarterly, Australian Poetry Journal,
Critical Survey, Live Encounters, Poetry New Zealand, Southerly, and Two-Thirds North. His seventh book is wonder sadness madness joy, Ginninderra (Port Adelaide). He writes in the Gippsland Lakes area of Victoria, and on Flinders Island, Tasmania.