It’s not hearing the owl
but straining to catch a phrase
of refrain – the whiplash trees’
greenless as night-desires.
Election day and before dawn
which is late, not released on time,
the short-eared owl is wind-driven
and scrawl of rain ignites
damp tapers – fireworks
of change or sameness,
of crucial events signalled
as rodents work to dry
fur as fast as drenched, full
moon gone, sun unarriving.
John Kinsella is an award-winning Australian poet. His most recent collection, “Insomnia”, is published by Picador.
This article appears in the 30 Sep 2020 issue of the New Statesman, Twilight of the Union