Saturday, August 8, 2009

Cows and Cyclones

The day before Cyclone Larry hit Mission Beach on 20 March 2006 the cattle who live in the middle of the town formed a barrier to the winds by standing in a circle with their rumps facing out. The following poem is reproduced from Earth's Breath.


The warning came four days ahead:
cyclone heading in―
but people have lives to live
and the dinner was not postponed
the celebration of season’s change
harvest of fruit from tree and vine.

The warning came three days ahead:
on screen the colours of infrared―
you talk of the curl on the sea’s edge
aware in a way of what’s in store
you know it’s not the same
for those who’ve been here before.

The warning came two days ahead:
the day itself no caveat―
calculate the weight of wind speed
all superlatives already stolen
by cyclone categories one and two
you cannot weigh any more.

The warning came a day ahead:
cattle standing in a ring
rump out, calves surrounded
wind churn will not move them.

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