Bibaringa Winter

Only the ghost of a rumour -
heard third hand from an early bulletin
will have the youngest child
awake all night and dreaming of snow.

Curtains in the long passage
allow the free movement of other presences
and somewhere below, the cellar swims
in cold and silence.

Hens are cooped white phantoms
fenced by a first grey stringy light:
mud and slush deep in grass
beyond the bamboos the town is lost to rain.

Today the dog won't move from the hearth,
one cat on the ironing board
another by the stove -
left-over lamb and onion stews in the pot.

Steamed windows give no perspective out,
each pane is a strange lens
refracting back grey wraiths of day
coaxed into warm colours of fire and wine.

More poetry by Jeff Guess