Light Airs


Half past midnight, and I had gone to bed with Sense and Sensibility.

Just as Willoughby was to sweep Marianne into his arms,

my pager sounded. Wind hurled itself repeatedly and without civility,

against the house. It chased down chimney’s charms,

and through the leaky window frames, howled in mad delight

once it caught itself hiding in the woods. In modest nightgown -

(thirty yards of Georgian cotton) - and husband’s gum boots, (O no troglodyte

am I), I took myself to Station, then quickly moved when frowns

from fellow crew outlined how nightgown, ‘gainst a stout searchlight, reveals.

Launched inside the ten with neither moon nor stars to guide us,

we unsealed the dark with a many-thousand candelabra flung squealing

past the wind. With night’s black-feathered cloak unfurled, thus

we found them deep inside Coose Bay, all well and full of gladness.

Then with tow and heel we set a dance for home, subtle in our deftness.

Eleanor Hooker’s collection The Shadow Owner’s Companion was published by Dedalus Press