Poems: Sunset Song and Song after Drought

 Sunset Song

by Elsa Johnson

I too                               have woken in the dead of night

to the flicker of light                                   and the muted

booms   of a nearing storm                 and thrown on my

shoes to flee into the blackness                                along

the muddy lane                              brushing the hot wires

twice                         to race the storm to the far pasture

where the shod horses graze                       in the unsafe

night                           to bring them back home to safety                         

They bolt at the first strikes     the horses     plunge      

and fly down the narrow track                      by wind and

noise whipped on        by the crackling         the crashing

above                  and the fierce hard lash of the fast rain                   

For who can outrun the storm?         now         or ever —       

The deluge comes                passes                comes again 

Song after Drought

This time the deluge came           and went            quickly

washing the day’s heat away                             after night

had fallen                     silent              to the hot pavement    

                         There is no more racing the night track in

blackness                         bringing the horses safely home

                    that lie allowing me              to bolt like my

beasts                                    fully alive to the lashing skies               

Today is three weeks out from solstice                 They’re

long dead              all the beautiful horses                   and

I’ve grown old         Last night’s rain tapered down from

ungentleness                  to less than a deluge          soft –

soaking the parched skins of earth               Underneath

the streetlamps    small wet leaves sparkle          almost

imperceptibly                       the long summer days wane