28 August 2010

THUNDERSTORM   by Oliver Postgate

Over the hill M’Bongo is beating his drum …

    Heavily the sweltering days have dragged,
    The sun burning in a brazen sky fills the air with a lake of shimmering heat.
    Pigs, heaped in the shade lie panting,
    The green corn is edged with brown,
    The heat-drugged brain fumbles with drowsy thoughts
    Lulled by the incessant murmuring of the flies, the weary earth has fallen asleep.

M’Bongo ...
    The thunder-god is laughing,
    Dark-winged and swift he mounts the sky.
M’Bongo ...
    The earth grows dark,
    His cold breath sweeps across the land,
    Shaking the leaves of the dusty trees till they dance with a lunatic joy.
    The mad cadence of his capering laughter,
    The cool swirl of the new wind,
    Fill my leaden bones with life.
The rain comes …
    Heavy drops beat out the measure of the dance of the wind,
    Faster, faster,
    Until the earth is blinded with the hiss of the happy rain
    Till the road is a river, the path a torrent,
    Till the wild joy of relief cries from the thirsty ground,
    And M’Bongo the mad one, giver of life, is dancing overhead
    Cracking the roofbeams of the world,
    Scoring with shards of light the grey mat of the rain.

The rain passes.
    The clear new air is filled with the smell of moisture,
    A white gull, wheeling against the shifting clouds
    Mingles its wailing with the last slow shaking of the thunder.
    A shred of pale light, peering over the sea’s rim
    Turns the roads and the roofs to silver.
    Under the dripping eaves a blackbird has begun to sing.

May 1944