Cloud burst

for TS Eliot


Cloud burst, and another sky falls. A blight of sun causes all feather to lose flavour in the wind. But our children will still have their mobile phones and dial the clouds in angst of predator drones. The crows are gone and broken windows only catch the breaths of dying trees. No matter how sorry the horizon, a child’s foresight will always wonder of the beauty in a falling sky.

‘Look Mumma … a death bird!’

But Mumma doesn’t look at the sky since it has soured. Mumma takes a peg and pins a damp sheet to the flimsy clothes hoist. Mumma counts the kinks in the wire and measures her own life – line.

‘Mumma can’t look now baby,
there may not be any sunlight tomorrow …’

And then Mumma takes the small child inside their shelter, abandoning the weathered fabric to subtly dance alone; it could be tomorrow’s death shroud?
And this is the way the world ends,
And this is the way the world ends,
And this is the way the world ends.

As the clouds quietly burst,
Not with bang, but a lethal breeze.


The sky is falling,
ghosts take shelter in shadow
and the air cries foul …

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Samuel Wagan Watson is an award-winning Indigenous poet and raconteur from the south-side of Brisbane. He comes from a family of accomplished writers and artists. Born in Brisbane in 1972, he is of Munanjali, Birri Gubba, German and Irish descent. Samuel’s first collection of poems won the 1998 David Unaipon Award. His fourth collection, Smoke Encrypted Whispers won the 2005 NSW Premier’s Award for the Book of the Year and the Kenneth Slessor Poetry Prize. Samuel has toured Australia extensively as a writer, has been a writer-in-residence at a number of institutions and has toured New Zealand, Germany and Norway to promote his work. He latest collection is Love Poems and Death Threats (UQP.)

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