Read: Weather GodsDavid Butler

A black and white photograph of the poet David Butler looking thoughtful.
A black and white photograph of the poet David Butler looking thoughtful.
David Butler

 

Weather Gods

 

I

 

Tired of burnings, bulldozers, charred lungs,

Chaac the Rain God decamps from Mayan

rainforests, rides the bloated trade winds,

comes to reign over the Old World.

Days on end the swollen earth has 

swallowed till it’s soft as blotting-paper.

The sun is an aspirin dissolving

in a gauze of soaked cotton. 

 

Storm-drains clog, rivers turn reptilian,

shed their alluvial taint in basements,

swell to bursting, silver-plate the floodplains.

Chaac moves over the face of the waters, 

looks on desolation wrought by man,

calls up the brother elements.

 

II

 

The drunken wind which last night

stomped through the playground,

drove the park into a frenzy

of soughing boughs, buffeted 

the houses, sputtered 

down the throats of chimneys,

chased cascades of startled

leaves against the windows, has,

this morning, taken a breather.

 

The ground is littered with all

the detritus of late Autumn,

as if a carnival has decamped;

and the trees, stripped bare

as parents when grief tears through them,

are suddenly old.

 

  III

 

There’s a moment, between drought and downpour,

when the winds hold their breath;

the boughs stop moving; the cloud,

backlit, is photograph-still;

the sea’s meniscus reverent. 

 

A moment in suspense.

 

An instant, when future imperfect

appears to hang in the balance;

when the dice have yet to fall,

the first fat drops to explode

in the dust-tormented earth.

 

 

IV

 

Weeks on, the scorched stench persists.

Beyond the cowering heather,

the rusted fern and bracken’s

burnt sienna, a blackened heath. 

Something else subsists 

beneath the ocean sibilance

and gulls’ psychotic squabbles –

the absolute silence of Death.

 

Bitterness of ash – the whitened cans,

the charred bones of gorse imploring

like something from Purgatorio, 

an image out of Aleppo, or

a lesson from our own past – 

the whole Head pitch-capped.

 

David Butler‘s second poetry collection, All the Barbaric Glass, was published by Doire Press in 2017. Doire are to bring out his third collection, Liffey Sequence, next year. His novel City of Dis (New Island) was shortlisted for the Irish Novel of the Year, 2015.

 

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