Anne Collins' previous books are My Friends This Landscape (Ginninderra Press 2011),
non-fiction and poetry; Seasoned with Honey (Walleah Press 2008), a four-poet
anthology; and The Season of Change (Walleah Press 2005), poetry. The poem here
is taken from The Language of Water (Walleah Press 2014). Anne Collins has been the
recipient of several awards, grants and residencies and has collaborated with
musicians and visual artists. She lives in Hobart, Tasmania (Australia).

The Language of Water

Sibéal sat on her veranda,
wrote a poem about water.
The rain came
the poem grew and grew,
soon there was a water garden of poetry.
The rain kept coming, water words kept coming,
rain drops pampered her skin,
her world grew wetter, she was immersed
in the language of water.
She listened to the night rain
patting the perspex roof
and fed her garden with new images
as the purple agapanthus reached tall
and the cluster of pink pelargoniums crawled across the deck.

Sibéal waded through her words, her mind awash
with synonyms and symbols that swelled her dreams
with low pressure clichés from some forgotten parable.
Sibéal kept writing
on paper gone limp in the humidity.

The drops came heavy and fast,
the world kept watching the waters
surge and tumble
on a sea-bound course.
The people watched
as water filled their capital city.
Shops, offices, hotels, cafes, galleries, factories,
houses and flats smashed and drowned.
Sibéal checked the weather report —
la niña had been playing in warm water.
Flood facts filled the newspapers, the TV screens,
the computer videos
where a sickening reality unfolded.
Cars tumbled by in the torrent
as people hung on waiting to be rescued.

Receding waters revealed
the shock of a city coated in sludge,
towns torn and twisted.
The atmosphere was busy:
people arrived in thousands
to share the grief and help.

Still the waters kept coming,
still water, deep running,
running waters still deeply.

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