Thursday, May 22, 2008

Rainwater Tank

The historic town of Hill End has a museum and quite a lot of well preserved cottages. This rainwater tank was on one of them. Rainwater tanks are of course a very old fashioned country-style type of thing which are now very in vogue in the city as an answer to water restrictions during drought.

Photo: Rainwater Tank, Hill End

Rainwater Tank by Les Murray

"Empty rings when tapped give tongue,
rings that are tense with water talk:
as he sounds them, ring by rung,
Joe Mitchell's reddened knuckles walk.

The cattledog's head sinks down a notch
and another notch, beside the tank,
and Mitchell's boy, with an old jack-plane
lifts moustaches from a plank.

From the puddle that the tank has dripped
hens peck glimmerings and uptilt
their heads to shape the quickness down;
petunias live on what gets spilt.

The tankstand spider adds a spittle
thread to her portrait of her soul.
Pencil-gray and stacked like shillings
out of a banker's paper roll

stands the tank, roof-water drinker.
The downpipe stares drought into it.
Briefly the kitchen tap turns on
then off. But the tank says, Debit, Debit."

1 comment:

  1. Hah! Nice one!

    I've been missing my regular dose of poetry!