Midwinter—rainwater, and the quick running creek;
how we trudged down the hill towards it.
Sunlight falls through jarrah, gilding the gravel track,
and glints off the gully’s eddying fjord.
Some way off, upstream, there’s a bridge across the creek;
a log we’d balance on, all but airborne.
Gazing into the silt-rich stream as far as light
allowed, trembling depths turned mirror,
where the moon might appear in any cloudy noon,
a drifting ghost, or petal; poetry.
Another metamorphosis in memory—
the creek, speaking its tongues into my sleep.
Tannin, cold water’s fall and flood-rushing currents:
the way we took its soundings through winter,
siblings playing making home along moss-soft banks.
Milk set among the creek stones to keep cold,
we found shelter huddled in a ti-tree cubby,
and coaxed woodsmoke from hesitant flames.
These days, I bid dream mimic memory, run with
my antipodean Hippocrene creek—
hold hands under the stream’s current; lift a brimful,
limpid draught to winter-pink lips and drink.
Or scout the shallows, stalk tadpoles to the stone dam,
watch water running through its patient net,
see rain meet the creek, set its black mirror rippling,
and turn the reflected sky to fragments.
When I slipped from the bridge as a child, I didn’t
think for years I’d surface from the same dream
as if being reborn of the mothering dark
waters, winter sending my blood singing;
for even now, in memory, the creek might speak.
I want to drink of those waters again,
and have visions of winter spill into my mind—
clouds break, and rain’s fluent fall to water.
Marjorie Main is from Torbay, WA, and lives in Melbourne. In 2017 her poem ‘The Ways’ was shortlisted for the Montreal Poetry Prize; others have appeared in Westerly and Rabbit.
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