I’m running several days late with this poem-a-day malarky – I owe you two for the past weekend plus today’s – but I wrote this on Friday for posting on Saturday since I knew I was about to miss at least a day. Andrew and I spent the weekend in Gulnare, Burra and Clare as I’d registered myself to run 10km in the Northern Argus Clare half-marathon event (I’m still working my way towards a half-marathon – verrry slowly). So we used the opportunity for a long-overdue visit to my cousin Karen, her husband Dave and their little man Josh at their property up in Gulnare. Their place is just gorgeous so it was a shame that it was such a short hello.
Anyway – back to this poem business – in December last year, Andrew, Bulkey and I kayaked down the Whanganui River in New Zealand and I wrote several poems about it straight away but knew that I wanted to write more and turn it into a series. During the five day paddle we picked up this awful book that had been left at a campsite and for the rest of the trip amused ourselves reading a random page each aloud over dinner prep or coffee breaks (terrible accents, overblown emphasis or toneless delivery of passionate love scenes encouraged). The execrable text was Her Own Rules by Barbara Taylor Bradford and I decided to keep the book and write the rest of the poem series using the book in strange ways. The following poem was composed using phrases and words from pages 12 and 13 (god help us all).
Barbara Taylor Bradford gives me a bollocking
Are you listening to me?
Racing alone along the dirt path
down to the river,
the water beckoning to you
like a gate in a stone wall.
I’ve told you this so often,
trying to keep a neutral tone
but my abrupt eyes strike the match,
and you, like an irritated teenager
glance back over your shoulder,
then turning away under the latticed shade
you catch the scent of wilderness
sweating off the gleaming skin of the river
and just like that, you leap.