Three Poems by Zoë Chamberlain


The Williwaw *

The Williwaw is here again.
It’s howling round my door,
And rushing down the mountain
And pounding on the shore.

The Williwaw’s a wayward wind
With willynilly ways.
It puts my world into a spin
And makes a turmoil of my days.

The Williwaw’s a phantom never seen
With chains of dread and sorrow,
Uprooting safe routine
And wrecking havoc with tomorrow.

The Williwaw’s skilled in treachery.
It comes when all is well.
Its touch is that of Destiny.
I pray it will not dwell.

* The Williwaw is a ferocious wind that blows along the Strait of Magellan.

The Mountain

The mountain was cut in two
And its once-secret layers exposed
In hues of red, and green, and blue
Laid down millenniums ago
In some calm and tepid sea,
Then during later cataclysms
Twisted and folded in bold
And undulating patterns
As if painted or woven
By timeless Indian fingers.

The mountain was cut in two,
Its heart dissected
(In a matter of days)
By mechanical teeth and claws.
Now, in unrelenting triumph
An asphalt river rushes through
And from our flying pedestal
We watch (for just an instant)
The mountain with its silent wound
Withdraw into the distance.

The Glove

While walking down the street one day, he found
a glove—an old, tattered, forlorn-looking
glove. He picked it up, not knowing why,
except that he’d always liked to find things—
strange miscellaneous treasures that lent an accent
of mystery to his existence. The glove was definitely
unappealing—fingers with holes and missing a thumb.
But he liked its rough texture, its ragged,
comical shape. He ignored the obvious philosophical
connotations—who had worn that glove and why
was it there in the middle of nowhere (so to speak)–
and casually pocketed it, while thinking he might
put it in a painting. Later, when he needed something
to fill the space between a bottle and a book,
it came to mind. It fit nicely. He was pleased.
And for some reason, over the years, whenever
he needed a something between a something else,
the glove was always at hand.

“It is the Hand of Destiny,” said one. “The Hand
of the Mystery of Life,” said another. “The Hand
of Christ upon the Cross (the holes denote
his suffering.)” “Obviously worn by a working man.
Like many of our artists today, Clavé‚ is a communist.”
“The surrealistic touch—a dream glove.” “No,
it is the hand of the artist himself—it is
his signature….”
Many years later,
in an interview, the artist solemnly confessed
the truth—“While walking down the street
one day, I found this glove….”

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