The Musician

After her tirade (the familiar reprise)
After the tyres had scratched the gravel
After the long road had dusted the disturbance
A mistake to let Satie’s Gymnopédie fill the void.
He’d thought another’s music would pull him back
But the spare notes seemed a tired sigh
From a shallow time,
Lost in the surf’s deep call
To where the rhythm’s fixed by graded stones
And bones of twisted wood –
Strewn like notes upon a stave –
Croon last storm’s tune.

Low-banked clouds
Press heavy on the ocean’s line,
The horizon blurred in shades of grey
Stretching beyond forever.
The breakers’ growl drowns the curlicues of sound
That form his pretty compositions,
Their dainty trills no more than spume
Above the churning, curdling sea,
A solid force that crests and curls,
Sounding a long percussive boom
Beneath the suck, the rasp,
The rattle of the tangling stones.
The hissing sea draws him in.
He kneels; his theme exhausted.
The bellow he emits is swallowed by the swell
Taken in its curving maw.

The Long White Cloud, poems, poems from Aotearoa