His heart wearing out its desire for action,
at one hundred he stumbles on this childhood deck
pushing my hand away, stubborn for independence.
I am back from the top of the globe to care for him
but it has been a hard day. Humour seeped away.
And so much has slipped from me, been left.
It’s confusing, love and a kind of anger, a kind of pain.
I sit the required personal distance from my
childhood friend, eating chocolate Easter eggs,
drinking hot coffee, letting it all go into the
mild dusk, into this autumnal softness
with its scatter of camellia blossom.
I’m unused to it in April, my home another
world, boxed somewhere on an ocean crossing.
When it settles next to me on the railing –
this Rainbow Lorikeet – I think it won’t stay long
but babble to it anyway as if it might listen.
Curious, it cocks that indigo-blue head,
red beak opening in song, not squawking at all,
but a squeaking, burbling tune, its mate hidden
in the grevillea tree returning single staccato notes.
So stunning in brightness, there’s a hurt
in its perfection, a sweet disbelief.
Across its belly plumped on nectar,
swathes of orange, yellow and blue sashes,
and I remember after my cancer really seeing them,
as if for the first time. In a new awe for life
I understood, nature likes to colour extremely.
Long tail splayed with emerald feathers,
it goes and returns, chattering to me
strangely sure of safety, hanging finally
upside-down from the house gutter above me,
relaxed in connection, unafraid. I smile so.
There is a dusk inside and out here, yes,
and a long day ending, but brightly.
Robyn Rowland has 14 books, 11 of poetry, most recently Under This Saffron Sun – Safran Güneşin Altında, Turkish translations by Mehmet Ali Çelikel, (Knocknarone Press, Ireland, 2019); Mosaics from the Map, Doire Press, Ireland (2018) and This Intimate War Gallipoli/Çanakkale 1915 – İçli Dışlı Bir Savaş: Gelibolu/Çanakkale 1915, Turkish translations by Mehmet Ali Çelikel, (FIP, Australia; Bilge Kultur Sanat, 2015; Spinifex Press, 2018) Her poetry appears in national/international journals, over forty anthologies, eight editions of Best Australian Poems. Her work can be viewed on film at the National Irish Poetry Reading Archive, James Joyce Library, UCD, available on YouTube.