Bronwyn Carter


At the lip of the Baltic Sea
elf Uhr in der Nacht
stray sea birds wheel inland
trailing the gunpowder scent of ice.
A horse stumbles in shadows,
part of a ghosting herd, and the
cockerel already crying for the dawn
answers weeping which hastens hourly rainfall.

Sunflowers catching moonlight nod
through dripping fields of corn;
their yellows glimpsed then visible
in leadlight windows like a syrupy oil
steeping with petals. Flames of colour
break free

to meet the stars’ misericorde beams,
gold and silver mirror infinitely.
The night’s pouring fathomless and slick
through black glacial floes where dark bodies
surface before diving to their secret lives
and hidden purposes.

I, the wanderer, feed my tiny gypsy stove;
fancying my arms have turned
to tawny, polished oak; bowed beams vexed
under a spirit’s isolate load. Eyes shut,
I see happiness lapping gunwales,
or just das Boot - my ancestors all

were sailors, transporting wood.
More sounds of stumbling:
the overladen apple tree’s dropping
her fruit, and my mare has returned:
it’s time to harness the wagon and move.
Zwölf Uhr in der Nacht,
I see the rain is here again
blowing in a steady, streaming flood.