The sound of rain on a metal roof,
an orchestra of cloud spirits
drumming just above your head.
The first such night is sleepless,
but then it becomes the most soothing thing
and the rhythm just carries you away.
When that roof was replaced by tiles
that deadened the sound,
Mum kept a large piece of tin
on the ground outside her window
to hear the rain, to dream of the clouds.
The only collecting I did as a kid
was of coins from all around the world;
I still have them today in an old suitcase.
Anyone who travelled outside Australia
was a target for my pestering
and over time I gathered a metal atlas
that I used to see the world in my mind;
Ireland’s harp played a journeying call
and Italian lire intrigued me.
None of my coins have any real value,
but that was never the point; they were symbols,
token entrance fees to a festival.
MUCH FREE TIME BUT TOO LITTLE FREEDOM
A town of five thousand people
that takes an hour to cross on foot
under a boiling sun
has lots of empty space
and parts I hardly know.
You walk and walk and tell yourself
that somewhere in these streets
is the very thing you’re looking for,
but each and every corner
is another disappointment.
Published in A New Ulster