Nothing Seems to Fit
Just a poem about rain.
A refugee from chitter chatter, wine and cheese and washing sherry,
I headed West and further West
Driving potholed cracked-road miles,
Settling in Dunquin for the end of my living.
My days are solitary silent days.
I speak no Gaelic and am mute of English –
The locals think I’m Latvian and I’m inclined to let them.
When banks of storm clouds scud the Blaskets
The villagers cluster Kruger’s Bar,
Drink too much ‘black’ with Paddy chasers
Fiddle jigs and reels and sing soft songs.
I set my rattan on the strand and cup my ears
Straining for the keening from
The Sisters of Perpetual Precipitation
In their endless celebration.
I hear the deathless tales they share
Of lands beyond Antarctica
The warm Pacific lapping Samoa
Babies drowned in the sea off Ithaca.
Saturating a watercolour on Box Hill –
The painter’s response? Unrepeatable.
Hitching a ride on Larkin’s brolly –
Shaken off at the ‘Welcome’ mat of his library.
Drenching adulterers’ ardour on Glastonbury Tor.
Raining off a Test Match and saving the Ashes.
Kissing the ground of a rubble slum
For a daisy to grow where no one goes.
Soaking flag-waving crowds at royal parades.
A laughing ragamuffin gutter splashing
His socks soaked through the holes
Of his hand-me-down one time Meltonian-white plimsolls.
Tumbling Betjeman’s nose,
Trapped on his tongue,
Cascading his throat,
Discreetly expelled, via fumbled zipper,
An amber stream
Trickling the wall of British Rail, Slough.
I sit at my wicker chair on the strand
Watching splashing drops’ joyously
Diving headlong into the see-saw sea
Bouncing off wave-tops ecstatically
Then inertia takes over.
They swoon into the sea and become the sea.
The clouds roll past.
Sun stirs the waters.
Vapour exults to the rainbow dome –
A lightness of cloud that will darken heavy.
I return my dripping wicker to my cottage beyond the village.
A passing neighbour, boozed up, merry, greets me,
“Tá sé in aghaidh an lae mhór anois tá sé ag cur báistí stop.”
I have no Gaelic – I nod.
A nod suffices.
My chair drips dry at my doorstep
I crane my ear for casual gossip
I wonder what lies the raindrops tell of me
When my back is turned.