The Casualties of the Season

The Casualties of the Season


Boy hangs
over handle bars.
Youths crouch, listless.
They watch a legend ride his motorbike
around and around.

The sky is a fresh sheet on an empty bed.
The sky is a muted TV. Subtitles
read the cold reality:
this is the end of the kites.
Now to silence.

The wind has lost its rage,
and the sycophants of rain are gathering in bars.

The kiters are as flat as last night’s beer.

A few small attempts are lifted upwards.
But they’re nothing like the monstrous colours
and laughter of yesterday.
What to do now?

Lounge …
Watch a single stuntman
ride around and around
before his engine cuts.


No-one else needs to wear the weight
of your fury.
The rice and corn stalks ease
upright again.
The ocean stops bristling
and draws up peace.

Kites may be yesterday’s news
but so is the Dalai Lama. And didn’t
the whining of the wind
grow thin as a plastic bag? Didn’t
resentment take too many men?

In an epic showdown, the hero
loses his wounded son; he loses
brother, uncle, another son, a few
neighbours and cherished friends,
before he finally
takes out the low-down sheriff.
The sheriff is dead but the hero has lost.

So ease off, wind. Consider
the mistakes of the past season. Count
the kites caught forever in banyan trees.
They’ll record it as the year
Bali ducked.
We reached for jumpers, pulled down blinds,
as you blustered into our lunchtime
You made the headlines, yes.
But where are your sons?


His entire body weight
is against the ground, against
the pull of the wind on his kite.
He offers me a turn
but the rope is tense – it feels
like elephants are stampeding
at the other end. I tell him
I’m tired of fighting elephants and low-down sheriffs
and I want my son.
I unfurl a white flag.
And fly on home.

Kiters in happier times

Kiters in happier times

Prime time for kites