It is so incredibly hot today. When we have brutal temperatures during summer, my head feels like it’s been stretched under pressure. There’s a good reason, I think, why so much of our poetry here in Western Australia is about the colours, textures and tones of this stretched feeling (sort of like a mirroring of the stretched landscape itself) that seeks constant relief. Here’s a poem by Perth poet, John Kinsella, that is like a relief for me in so many ways:
But a dip is subtle, you’re down
and lowland is ‘as the case might be’,
a benign memory like wading through a creek
in hot weather, trousers rolled up to the knees,
all complexity quelled by the feeling
of smooth stones massaging your feet,
though it’s rare for water to flow here, or there,
in summer. Storms as pleasure.
Down to the dip, DIP sign shot through
with holes, rust coronas, like looking inside
out through the puys of the Massif Central,
Auvergne, at this semi-green time of year.
You barely decelerate, and anything
that approaches will slip up onto you.
–From Armour, 2011, p. 47.
P.S. I’ve written an article for the Australian Ballet on the story of a Jewish ballet dancer called Margit Wolf, who inspired a legendary love song and survived the Holocaust. When I think about what sort of writing I want to do this year, I come to the conclusion that it’s more poetry, fiction, and articles like this one. Hopeful thinking, perhaps.
Image credit: Young Woman Bathing Her Feet (also known as The Foot Bath) by Camille Pissarro, 1895.