Storm Song

*Photographs by me.

Where are our friends this year?
We miss their presence
Because they are late arriving,
It’s not the same without them.

These hot days cling to our skins!
When I walk with wind, there is gratitude,
But even the air is dry.
We move slowly,
This season is a slow time,
But alive with a joyfulness
And anticipation.
We wait for them.
We know they will come,
But this year, they are late.

Crisp leaves hang low
On the drooping arms of trees.
Sometimes the rain falls,
Only for a precious moment,
Just enough to quench
The desperation of thirst,
But not the thirst itself.
The dryness of my skin and mouth
Feels like the dryness of those leaves.
One month, two months, three now…
Where are our friends?
When will they come?
It’s not the same without them.

I have found dead birds…
The water of their bodies
Sucked dry.
The kookaburra stares at me,
At the bird,
But he does not call:
He hasn’t seen the black cockatoo,
Or our friends,
He is waiting too.
The frog people do not call.
Bats leave the skies
To dip their bellies and swim
In shrinking waters.
Where are our friends this year?
When will we see them again?

On an unexpected day,
They arrive.
It is late, but they have come.
At first we are still,
Waiting in anticipation
As the thunder rumbles purple
and the lightning hisses
Like snakes in the sky above.
Everyone is still.
Kookaburra calls.
The skies open,
And we greet our friends,
The storm people.
They are late,
But they have come at last.

The shimmer of magic
Moves across the water
As rain greets river,
The rise and fall of
Vibrant voices
Singing from liquid bodies.
They share stories
That only summer storms know,
This rain is itself,
Not winter rain, or spring or autumn.
They are themselves.
This rain cools the burning,
This rain washes away
The sticking heat,
Replacing the water of my body
With its own.
Welcome rain and cloud,
You have come at last
With thunder and lightning.

We can smell the change –
Plants and soil greet the storm
With aromas kept special
For these days.
Every day, you can smell the trees,
But not like this.
This is a language they speak
Only in the summer heat,
And this song
They sing with the storm
For all to hear in their nostrils.
At first, the trees are still,
Drinking into their roots.
But then, the wind sheds its dryness
And joins the song
Dancing, swirling
Into branch, leaf,
Feather, water, skin.
The land rejoices
As the heat sighs itself
Into moisture and scent,
Cool and refreshing…
We welcome our friends,
There is much joy
To see them again.

Welcome summer friends,
We have sorely missed you
And are glad you came.
The whole family
Is relieved to see you again,
Watch how the galahs play
And hear the frog people call.
Magpies stay out in the rain,
We stand together
Beneath the singing sky –
Songs of purple thunder
And hissing snakes of light.
We are wet with rain
And the scents of trees,
Magpie shuffles it into his feathers.
I step into a puddle.
Kookaburra calls.
Black cockatoo flies overhead.
You are late getting here,
But now you have come,
Welcome, summer friends.

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