Sunday, 31 January 2010


Summer's out of breath
from rushing to get here
and so real we could reach out
and pinch it.
It's apologetic

and knows its late arrival
has made us grumpy,
nevertheless it's hopeful
of a full pardon.
On the trip home I collect evidence,

car windows wound down
with brown arms hanging out,
hands fingering heat's warm beads.
On the Cromwell bridge
three young lads, careless towels

slung around their necks.
As we drive over I look down
into the river's deep, swift throat
and ask, "Was it Steve who jumped
off here?" "Yep," Robert nods

and that's all we say
but thoughts do occur like,
you bear your children,
bring them up, keep them safe
only to have them jump

off bridges, drift dangerously
with untrustworthy
currents, land on rock,
punch the air. Fan-shaped, silver
spray over orchards.

Brown hills shaped like skulls
of elephants, or buffalo.
Barefeet wincing over warm gravel.
Squinting hitchhikers,
thumbs hooking

blue sky. Real-fruit ice cream
deep in berry country
near Roxburgh, where sun sears.
The machine crushes
and creams frozen raspberries.

Sun stings
the backs of my knees.
Ah! Summer, there you are
you've had us covered.

Kay McKenzie Cooke


Leonie said...

Lovely. You have transported me back home, far from my cold London flat


Becky Willis Motew said...

An apologetic summer--I love that. It is bitterly cold here, so it was doubly nice to read your graceful words. I see you are on Twitter I signed up but it seems daunting.

Anonymous said...

Loved the "three young lads, strung around" and the view that followed! This is a Roxburgh Red kind of poem. Wonderful for a former "up Central" gal.

Found you via Icelines and other wonderful places I visit. Thank you!

Kay Cooke said...

Leonie - Thanks - it isn't the final poem by any means - I'm taking a bit of a risk posting it before I've completed its several thousandth reworking! But at least it rings true with you, which is an indication for me that I 'm getting there. :)

Becky - Thanks. I am aware of many clumsy lines here as it is an unfinished poem (I think I might add a note to that effect that at the beginning ...) But it captures some of the mood of our return trip home through the summer heat.

lmrb - Thanks so much for your visit and the kind comments. I am secretly pleased as punch that it spoke of home to an 'up Central' gal.

apprentice said...

"arms hanging outfingering the heat's warm beads" -love this line, and I like how the poem meanders just like the mind does on a journey.

Kay Cooke said...

Apprentice - Thank you. The comments help me in my frequent re-writings - what bits to leave in, what to leave out. Much appreciated, helpful feedback is so good!

Rethabile said...

Thanks, Kay. Magnificent feeling of driving through a country road near water in the heat. You nailed it.

Clocking Out

 I have been neglecting this blog for some months. I think perhaps I should face facts and accept that it is indeed time to retire this blog...