Published in Overland Issue Poetry in Lockdown · Poetry A spiral (or certain themes revisited) Leah Muddle 1. The largest square is for the sky. We have a great little room for seeing it, for watching storms come. Bending trees and oversized clouds emphatically going . . . All formula but it’s still a thrill, especially when the room fills golden. 2. You say what is a rook? and I run to see it. Images of a ‘gregarious’ bird and one blank-looking chess piece. Each bird has a face that looks just so old, like dozens of birds in one. 3. Towards an essence, or to a multitude? That’s a biggish question. 4. Think of the rook — from nothing, to bristling, to flight . . . Whatever is between zero and one is so astonishing. From sitting to dancing . . . 5. At the moment, each day’s arc can be too closely observed. The mornings are okay and the evenings may eventually turn out alright, too (little curling tail). But the afternoons are treacherous. (5.2) Bobbing onewards on my bits of wood (clutching something — a shoebox?) while everything hastens otherwards. 6. The clouds have been painted on and I can tell in which order the colours: YELLOW, then a PINK that eclipses the yellow, spoils of GREY, patches of INDIGO BLUE. In ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’, remember how CF says — what colour are the clouds, and SJ says — WHITE . . . and he says — what colour are the clouds, and she looks again and starts to list YELLOW etc. If loyal to my mind, I’d have to say: Johannes Vermeer is no Dick Bruna . . . (6.2) Too silly I know. *Ha*, *ha*, la, la — — 7. — — flippin’ o’er the pages, rustling the paper stacks, towering the boxes, teasing the sticking-out feathers, rankling, rankling as the wind does the trees. (7.2) A mess, a good mess, and I am getting somewhere. (7.3) One is the sky, two is a spread-winged rook . . . nine is a driblet of coffee , 8. The white square of the mind eludes me, so I’m going for something a bit Last Days of Chez Nous. There’s a decent still of the three women at the table, all with reddish hair, red wines, tomato pasta and green beans, a bitter yellow tablecloth. (Kerry Fox in an emerald green top). Its notions of what’s free are obvious and clunky but ring true: STRONG dancing, getting in the car to drive off, a Sydney that’s a touch lurid, finally walking out to find the base of the spire. 9. Oh, no — I’ve no religion (!) except, today, the rook. (9.2) I’ll return to the rook now a star, now a pinprick. Read the rest of Poetry in Lockdown, edited by Toby Fitch and Melody Paloma If you enjoyed this special edition, subscribe and receive a year’s worth of print issues, the online magazine, special editions and discounted entry to our literary competitions Leah Muddle Leah Muddle is an artist, poet and would-be retail worker. Her writing can be found in journals such as Cordite, Plumwood Mountain and The Slow Canoe. She is also the publisher of Shower Books chapbooks including, It’s what we’re already doing, in collaboration with Elena Gomez, Ella O’Keefe, Melody Paloma, Sian Vate and Emily Stewart. More by Leah Muddle › Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places. If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate. Related articles & Essays First published in Overland Issue 228 3 November 20233 November 2023 · Poetry our neighbours poem Ender Başkan our neighbours face appears above the fence – hello. our neighbours have a chat with us. our neighbours learn our names. our neighbours become our friends. our neighbours landlord thinks the market is ripe. our neighbours are told to leave. our neighbours try to buy their house at an exorbitant price to keep their kids in the school zone. our neighbours are denied. First published in Overland Issue 228 25 October 202325 October 2023 · Poetry The inhabitants Elif Sezen I died today, among many others, my grandpa died too, and our neighbours, / my best friend, the one with braided hair yes, and our sweet sweet doctors, / our motherly nurses... We heard a blast, then a whoosh of some kind, / and all gone.