three poems by chris holdaway

Sundialling

Along ground the main road turns into a mountain.
The mountain has turned brown
this year: the sea gets wetter and light heats up even as the sun dies
on a scale that is
                                      alarmingly not concerning ;

I don’t understand how spidery vines manage to grow up the sides
of concrete houses—passing stately clouds
and past of silk looms, spice racks—the grand scale of desire

masked like the click of a piano.

Under duress of observation
like everyone else I am not myself; having superficially come to grips
with The Uncertainty Principle
                                                            and all killing to fall
drunk with streets under lucky stars on sated mats of fallen gingko leaves
but nothing happens for any reason.

         The idea is to light up the dry bracken
and roar back in some way to begin where the mountain missed out
on endangering thousands of lives
by waking up too early.                        It rains for a split step under trees,
—ground covered blue from bright windows . . . the last of the evening;
the first of the morning—nothing for which to remain awakened
but never sleeping . . .
                                   forget the felicity of air.
 
 
A rosary
                                                                  E.M.

After our film we had driven to the point of watching
country lanes.—the rain
such that my eyes & the white lines
were fleeting between roadside gardens.

Her home reaches the abrupt
close to patterns formed
of doors.. A long way to steer myself—along
thin rivers, under the glass of cinematic waterfalls;

and I inevitably wait outside as the gardens bloom
into heavy fields,—the first small church crops up.

That I couldn’t fall into her small jar of certain flowers,
carefully watered on the wooden lectern
in warm draught . . . no – but too late – only

that I could not properly ask.

Moisture beads had laced her fingers and I let them run
like sand. A cliff now and again crumbles
like someone’s face by the sea.
 
 
Something about trees

Lately I am often across the road
with watching a tall wave falling in line close by;—
the bark looks this way
with its lichen spots and a mild radioactivity to the leaves
as though always filtering a little light no matter how late.

You can see the air—the cotton takes hold, falling
over the park’s gravel stripes and later
rain with its metal scent perhaps blows the wind ;
at least fumes and the flowers turn to damp city snow.

Or, scuttling out of the branch tunnel
into white heat that only accompanies the end of one year
or the beginning of the next

and there you are again;—on the field, my team-mates
who had legitimate concerns over hitting the ball far
through the ranks of trees and into the four lanes . . .

—the little rain allowed to settle on blacktop
and quickly evaporate
reminding that we are not protected from above.
 
 
Chris Holdaway is a poet and linguist based in Auckland.

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