Oliver Roberts

Rookie (June 7,1979 / South Africa)

Visitations - Poem by Oliver Roberts

I didn’t need to hear the rain
or watch the lone swallow flying
through it like a lost arrow
to suddenly remember you.
Nor did I need to be reminded,
either by the thin sound
of stars drizzling onto the sea
or a wet bell never rung,
about that shyness of yours
which I loved.
And there is nothing,
not even meeting, on my walk home,
a stranger weeping softly in a tunnel
that could make me forget
the hail-sky taste of your skin in winter.

Through the weeks, the months,
the years that I have passed in sleep
you have remained in the vast fields,
in my mind, standing still there,
wearing the wind, just as I remember you.
So much of you has stayed behind,
lingering in any room I’ve entered
where candles have been left alone to burn,
or anywhere a road becomes suddenly quiet.
I am sure, too, that if I collected the voices
of people picking oranges on a warm evening
I would recall that majestic fall of your breasts,
how they reflected off your eyes like a sweat.

The sky this morning is full of storms,
swarms of clouds perfect for the solitary man.
I belong inside this poem,
I wanted to write it because, even now,
I have to depend on my old verses,
on the stillness of a face seen in a deep crowd,
on the sad whales swimming in your hip bones,
on trying to find and follow self-possessed trains
filled with jasmine roaring past frightened towns,
to keep something, threads of you, still with me.
Even now, even now, even now.


Comments about Visitations by Oliver Roberts

  • (8/2/2006 6:22:00 AM)


    Oliver...I wish I had written these wonderful lines:

    'where candles have been left alone to burn,
    or anywhere a road becomes suddenly quiet.'

    Take care, John
    (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Monday, July 31, 2006

Poem Edited: Friday, August 20, 2010


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