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Poetry by John Leonard 

John is the author of Braided Lands and poetry editor of Overland.  He lives in Australia.




© 2010 John Leonard




V. Autumn Rains No Longer Fall (Passacaglia)

Autumn rains no longer fall—
Our lives are dry and without growth.
We remember when trees fruited,
Weeds ramped suddenly through the yard.

The days dawn, these days of joy,
Days of sorrow, as ever—
Yet they are never days of rain:
Grass, leaves stare at the clear sky.

Spring or summer rain greens
The land—but it is a show.
Growth slackens soon, drought
Returns, and brown leaves with it .

It's autumn rains we need,
The very rains that have ceased,
They soak the soil, through the profile— Then winter nurtures spring growth.

Ours are dry, upland valleys,
Not floodplains brought to life
Once a decade by flood; floods
Here tear at the soil and roots.

Autumn rains will not return.
The climate has changed for good,
Things will never be as they were,
As we were beginning to know them.

This house of ours sags and leans,
Doors no longer close, walls
Crack from top to bottom, dust
Blows in at every window-frame.

There is always talk, of storage,
Re-use, technology, but nothing
Can replace the rain. Talk is empty,
The sky is blue, and empty.

Trees still flower round about, birds nest, The seasons turn themselves
around, But in the end the trees will die, Birds move on, towards the coast.

We knew well that life was empty,
That our ideas had no purchase,
No truth, now the drought confirms
For us our drought, our need.

We can move on, we can cast our minds
Further, find new dreams to dream.
Or perhaps we *can* stay, spin
Dry thoughts for the new climate.







All work is copyrighted property of John Leonard.



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