Three Ghazals for the Dervish
I watch anemometers whirl in the westerly,
weak trees collapse across the railway line.
Waves arrive in predetermined angles,
spraying curves into the blistering gale.
A feather sharp enough to write my name
spins down through pohutukawa leaves.
Clouds spew up the storm’s horrendous roar.
When your lips move, I think you are talking.
No signals come from the drowned city:
Unclassified gulls shriek from all angles.
• • •
Anemometers are caught out in their cups,
spinning with delight, unwilling to stop.
Gusts spin back whenever the wind shifts.
Gulls cruise the thermals in between us.
Autumn gales occlude our light.
This time I’ll deal the cards blind side up.
The big ship lies on the rocks in the bay,
spilling gold and brandy and dying slaves.
When sun strikes, tiny leaves will spring
unnoticed on the tangled sharpened twigs.
• • •
I will plant anemometers in the spring.
Their swash of discovery will follow the rain.
What does it mean when you scream at the moon?
The night-booming parrots are gone from their caves.
Listen. They’re making noises now. Trees
bark and chatter. People smile back and bow.
No seagulls are liars. Their turn will come
when they swirl by the shore by the bird-catchers’ cliff.
I embrace silence embracing me.
Quiet comes quickly and turns into my skin.
- “Red-Billed Gull” Shag Point, Moeraki, New Zealand © Ben; Creative Commons license.
Mary Cresswell is from Los Angeles and lives on New Zealand’s Kapiti Coast. Her fourth poetry collection, Fish Stories, will be published in June 2015 by the Canterbury University Press. The book is based on ghazals and glosas, and investigates how these two imported forms might develop in English.
For more information about Mary, please visit her profile on the New Zealand Book Council website.