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Four poems by Cally Conan-Davies

From the island of Tasmania

Cally Conan-Davies
Cally Conan-Davies

Shelly Beach Sunday

  • A girl climbs in the scarred pandanus, a boy
  • digs a moat in the sand, a yellow sail
  • glides on the swell, gulls and terns hang
  • blithe behind the surf, then hit like bombs.
  • Banksias hold the dunes. The girl in the branches
  • shouts I am king of the castle, you dirty rascal
  • and the boy hollows out the shape of his first name.
  • From a bench on the clifftop carved in memory of
  • Edwin Edwards, 1918–2007, Enjoy His View
  • where a southerly onshore wind tangles my hair,
  • I see light on the water lift all kinds of blue —
  • nacre making a mirror of the hard world’s edge,
  • aquamarine in the shallows, sapphire beyond reach.
  • A tinny pitches on the swell, bow-backed surfers bob.
  • The lucky ones will catch a perfect break
  • while those attending to the burning shore,
  • in the arms of trees, molding fortresses of sand,
  • though sun-dazed, stare faithfully at the sea
  • for a shadow on the blue, dark-fused and not our own.

I Like to Stand Apart from You

  • and watch the wave wash mirroring your life
  • showing all at once in the falling light
  • your sturdy body, in gumboots,
  • a pad and pencil in your hand,
  • and two subtle bodies striking out from you,
  • like a sundial gesturing at ten to six:
  • your shadow pointing west shows the minute,
  • your reflection, now, is the descending hour
  • on a clock face, blue and white.
  • You look down at the sky
  • and the clouds in it.
  • We can’t hold back the time
  • and so it goes
  • and the waves keep coming.

Self-portrait with Luminosity

  • The light I find is always enough
  • to capture me
  • The light I find to wrap a lyric around
  • is melody
  • The light I find isn’t always kind to me
  • Nothing in the sky, nothing in the wires, can account
  • for the light I find
  • The light I find is a stab in the dark

Love Where It Ends

  • (for my daughter)
  • the you of now
  • the moo of cow
  • the crow of black
  • a suited dove
  • the push and shove
  • of trust and blame
  • a no can do
  • a giant yowl
  • in the nick of time
  • on the switchback trail
  • the holy mooing
  • cow of now

Cally Conan-Davies hails from the island of Tasmania. She worked as a teacher, reviewer, and bibliotherapist before moving to the United States in 2012. Her poems can be found in periodicals such as The Hudson Review, Subtropics, Poetry, Quadrant, The New Criterion, The Virginia Quarterly Review, The Sewanee Review, The Southwest Review, The Dark Horse, Harvard Review, and online journals.

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Cally Conan-Davies
Cally Conan-Davies

Shelly Beach Sunday

  • A girl climbs in the scarred pandanus, a boy
  • digs a moat in the sand, a yellow sail
  • glides on the swell, gulls and terns hang
  • blithe behind the surf, then hit like bombs.
  • Banksias hold the dunes. The girl in the branches
  • shouts I am king of the castle, you dirty rascal
  • and the boy hollows out the shape of his first name.
  • From a bench on the clifftop carved in memory of
  • Edwin Edwards, 1918–2007, Enjoy His View
  • where a southerly onshore wind tangles my hair,
  • I see light on the water lift all kinds of blue —
  • nacre making a mirror of the hard world’s edge,
  • aquamarine in the shallows, sapphire beyond reach.
  • A tinny pitches on the swell, bow-backed surfers bob.
  • The lucky ones will catch a perfect break
  • while those attending to the burning shore,
  • in the arms of trees, molding fortresses of sand,
  • though sun-dazed, stare faithfully at the sea
  • for a shadow on the blue, dark-fused and not our own.

I Like to Stand Apart from You

  • and watch the wave wash mirroring your life
  • showing all at once in the falling light
  • your sturdy body, in gumboots,
  • a pad and pencil in your hand,
  • and two subtle bodies striking out from you,
  • like a sundial gesturing at ten to six:
  • your shadow pointing west shows the minute,
  • your reflection, now, is the descending hour
  • on a clock face, blue and white.
  • You look down at the sky
  • and the clouds in it.
  • We can’t hold back the time
  • and so it goes
  • and the waves keep coming.

Self-portrait with Luminosity

  • The light I find is always enough
  • to capture me
  • The light I find to wrap a lyric around
  • is melody
  • The light I find isn’t always kind to me
  • Nothing in the sky, nothing in the wires, can account
  • for the light I find
  • The light I find is a stab in the dark

Love Where It Ends

  • (for my daughter)
  • the you of now
  • the moo of cow
  • the crow of black
  • a suited dove
  • the push and shove
  • of trust and blame
  • a no can do
  • a giant yowl
  • in the nick of time
  • on the switchback trail
  • the holy mooing
  • cow of now

Cally Conan-Davies hails from the island of Tasmania. She worked as a teacher, reviewer, and bibliotherapist before moving to the United States in 2012. Her poems can be found in periodicals such as The Hudson Review, Subtropics, Poetry, Quadrant, The New Criterion, The Virginia Quarterly Review, The Sewanee Review, The Southwest Review, The Dark Horse, Harvard Review, and online journals.

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