Rhys is home


by John Kingsmill*

My town is a little better, more loving,
less convoluted. Still cold, but Adelaide’s
winter skies are cloudless for a while

and then a weather system settles in
for three or four days of genuine rain.
Partly clouded, they call it.  I think

it’s a real winter, rain on the roof,
a burst of sunlight backlighting
the last of autumn’s leaves

in brilliant crimson. I feel alive again,
noticing things –  a teenager’s sneer
before a giggle; an elderly man

warming his wife’s knee at the footy
tonight, a driver pausing in a lane
and letting a stranger in. The cold

creates warmth, hats warm heads,
wheat bags cheer tired aches.
The dominant faction splits;

too few titbits for too many
hungry immature greedy mouths.
The centre shifts a few degrees;

can the centre hold? Can such
a large ship ever be launched again?
How much fructose is in bread?

Rhys is home again. I can’t write to
him in the ocean any more. He’s back
on land, on my land. He’ll see the world

as I see it. I’ll cease being the bearer of news
to him; I’ll be just another bird on a twilight
tree calling him and others to my branch

before the sun finally disappears
and the moon begins its ascent.
The premier, nor the coach,

can hold their reigns. They have both
been tipped off their horses; they’ve
both landed with a thump. We haven’t

seen them fall, but we’ve heard
them landing. The city waits.


*Find John’s discussion of the footy sonnet on the Big Footy site. The thread is called Where to now, Adelaide? and it’s at:


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