‘All habits are tinged with sadness,
for being habits.’ Paul Theroux
Confined, in light I sit, the world behind,
read derivative sub-headings, foul news
in the still morning in the same sequence
after removing the trendy sections
and filing them in the used pile, unread.
I start the main items from the front, sport
from the back, save word puzzles until last.
I sip coffee rattling lightweight pages
including full-page adverts which I shun
like a rich man ignoring a beggar,
coffee I brew the same way, the same time.
Loafing, I read days into weeks, months, years.
I could catch the radio news afoot,
attend to life’s quiet desperation,
but I’m a slave to habit’s sad aura.
Toiling, sweat his cure for insomnia
blocks introspection, also keeps him fit.
He rakes a dead bird, then a rat, from mulch.
Disturbed whiskery mosquitoes rise from
fecund beds of leaf litter in the shade.
He pauses passing the disused sandpit
under Japanese lanterns where kids played
while the parents celebrated in song
showed off, spilled wine, here, then, now ivy-grown.
Done, he selects piano and cello
Koechlin’s composition, Chansons Bretonnes
house musty-tidy, his dry skin sallow.
Les Laboreurs has won music’s time test
but reminds him, as usual, of joy gone.
Ian C Smith lives in the Gippsland Lakes area of south-eastern Australia where he loves the natural world, his work appearing in Blue Giraffe, Camel Saloon, Full of Crow, MiCROW, Monkey Kettle, papertiger, Radio Nag, Rain Dog, Shrike, Sugar Mule, Takahe, &, Trout. His latest book is Contains Language, Ginninderra Press, Adelaide.