Phil Brown -  journalist . writer . poet


Phil Brown

journalist . writer . poet

articles . books . poems

Poetry

An Accident in the Evening (2001) - by Phil Brown


In a Kowloon Garden

At dusk, in the monsoon months,
when the air was humid
and thick as opium den smoke
we chased tiny oriental bats
across the garden's sky

the clouds above us
rumbled with thunder:
the roar of hidden jets
lumbering into Kai Tak,
yet to break the grey roof
above Kowloon Tong

behind the high walls
and steel gates
we played all day
in our palace yard

at night the typhoon wind
rattled the bamboo
beside the big house,
and shook the windows

through the barred panes
we watched the stars
blink between clouds,
then slept as safe as aristocrats

each Friday our gardener,
the fa wong ,
breached the perimeter
entering our compound
on his rickety bicycle:

a wiry, ancient man,
skin as dark as the dregs
of a pot of po lei cha

one day
when the drenching rain
beat from the low sky
like dragon boat drums
I watched him all morning
framed by the window:
a figure from a Chinese scroll

wearing his customary straw hat,
and a shiny raincoat, he walked
among the rows of potted plants
(jasmine, jade, bauhinia)
with two watering cans
slung from a yoke across his shoulders

tediously, moving up and down,
watering, in his own inscrutable fashion –
watering, in a Kowloon garden
in the pouring monsoon rain

by Phil Brown

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