On the Island of Madeira where mountain firs comb water from clouds after dusk the Levadeiro cools warming tempers of farmers in drought. Across the Atlantic (on a coast by the Pacific) I cycle round a place of learning in the lap of another mountain; sail an avenue of palms traverse El Camino Real. Here morning fog masks silicon(e), dairy-free yoghurt politesse and privilege while TV news-breaks trill of ‘empty pool’ parties to save a dry Cal. State. Under vaulted windows light rains down on the pages of an adoptee citizen (who walked with placards here who saw the Redwood bloom) I drink songs of quiet deputies sift bones of poems and dreams— when evening comes sleep rolls in like a blanket, stitched with a thousand precious needles to comb this life from the day.
The Levadeiro is responsible for the control and rotation of irrigation water through the historic network of the Madeira Levadas; ‘quiet deputies’ is from Selected Letters of Rainer Maria Rilke 1902-1926 (trans., Hull 1947) p. 402, the passage was indexed by Denise Levertov in her personal edition of the letters.
Willo Drummond lives and writes on Dharug and Gundungurra land in the NSW Blue Mountains. Her poetry is published in Australian and international journals including Cordite Poetry Review, Mascara Literary Review, Meniscus and TEXT. In 2020 Willo was the recipient of a Career Development Grant (poetry) from the Australia Council for the Arts. She teaches in the creative writing program at Macquarie University.