9 August: An Ekphrastic Poem

The Return of the Flame

I am stopped dead, clutching
a water bottle again. A hostage
to withered rivers. Burnt faces.

This scotch bonnet heat
empties my head. I will never
get used to this sort of thing.

Heat unleashed from some-
where else, and spilling on you.
A barbarous soak. Phaethon’s

set the air on fire. I dream of
stars at night and a good old
writhe in cool morning dew.


Image by Rene Magritte The Return of the Flame 1943. We’re under a dome of high pressure again, and it’s winding-up for another heatwave more prolonged than the last one.  ©Misky 2022 Shared with #amwriting on Twitter

27 responses to “9 August: An Ekphrastic Poem”

  1. This is wonderful! Just love the imagery!

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    1. I don’t know how people who live in hot climates cope with this heat. Aircon, I suppose, which houses don’t have here.

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      1. We watched Grand Designs Australia for a few series. There were a couple of houses in northern Queensland. The whole way the house was designed was different. Up on stilts to get breeze under, cross ventilation was essential. One of them was more of a pavilion than a house, it was so open. They didn’t mention insulation but I assume that is useful against cold and heat. It’s just Australian building regs haven’t cottoned onto that in a big way yet. In Indonesia there were a lot of tiled floors, ceiling fans and cold bathing. And again, much more open to the elements. But you lived in HK didn’t you? They have a hot summer.

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        1. Yes, and everything in Hong Kong is air conditioned. Not so much central heating though for the week each year that drops to 10°c. Single family dwellings are rare in HKG; all high rise flats, except out in the New Territories. Most expats leave HKG in the summer because of typhoons and the heat.

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          1. I spent a summer there looking after my younger cousin. Their apartment was on the 13th floor so there were good breezes. But I definitely appreciated the air conditioner at night.

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            1. We lived quite close to Stanley so had a good sea breeze, which was really nice.

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    2. ps: Have you heard from Hobbo, or know why he’s gone quiet?

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      1. Only that he was house hunting. Maybe they found a place and moved and are settling in and he hasn’t got back in the habit of blogging yet. His last post was early June I think.

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        1. I keep thinking that the two of them were heading to Australia to visit family, but I might be confusing him with someone else.

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          1. That might be right! He definitely has a son in Melbourne.

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  2. Brutally sweaty here. You capture the cravings for a cool morning, light sweater and thick book.

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    1. 10am, and we’re already into the mid-30C.

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      1. It looks like reprieve is in the horizon. We dip back down in the 80F next week.

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  3. Love that word ekphrastic and you nailed the poem

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    1. Thank you, Michele.

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      1. How are you and your hubby feeling?

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        1. Much better thank you! Just a slight cough from time to time, and some things still taste odd. 🤷🏼‍♀️

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          1. I liked this because you said you are much better. My taste buds have changed a lot as I get older. My dad has Covid now. He said he had no taste at all and was very congested. 😣

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            1. I’m sorry about your Dad. Yes, congestion like I’ve never experienced before. I’ve also noticed that everything that’s reduced sugar or sugar-free tastes metallic. Very weird. I hope your dad feels better soon.

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              1. Thank you Misky. He still has a cough but my sister brought him a smoothie yesterday and he jugged it down

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                1. Could he taste it?

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                  1. Yes and he is eating more now too! He’s 84 so I worry his immune system has been lowered although he was quadrupled vaccinated

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                    1. An appetite is always good news.

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  4. Great poem and yes it’s a bit warm here too! Even my teeth are sweating…

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    1. It’s not easy sleeping in this heat!

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