John Clare Writings

Bang Crash

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Great Heavens, what is this?! It has been raining most of the day, sometimes quite heavily. Now suddenly out of the dark pours a splattering, shattering, banging, cracking fusillade of automatic fire. Well, not really gunfire as I had for one credulous moment believed. This could be a horde of incensed madmen hurling stones from the trees on the hillside supporting the railway track that runs out along the viaduct. Hurling handfuls of stones. But the windows are not breaking. I go to the back windows and clearly this is hail. It is covering the ground at remarkable speed as if distributed by a machine, not even bouncing now but piling up. and the reason there is no shattering glass out there, and the reason it is so disorientingly loud, is the protective sloping projection of corrugated iron over the windows. On the viaduct side, trees and bush are diffusing the force of these stones of ice. There is however a startling bang, a crack, but no glass breaks. On the other side my flat conjoins the one next door. I am sheltered. It makes me feel oddly cosy. In the time it has taken to write that the hail has stopped and now it is just steady rain hitting various surfaces including pools of rain already fallen. Quite an orchestration of rain sounds. Gurgling, plopping, dribbling, pattering, splashing – and now only the sound of rain that has accumulated, dropping from roofs, running in gutters. And behind everything a soothing hooshing susurrus. Soft rain has started again.

Now I remember that only minutes ago I had heard but not noted a tremendous expanse of thunder, strangely close to the ground. Blanketing the earth.

The world is still now out there, except for falling water from accumulations. It is clear. The Centre Point Tower (now renamed Sydney Tower, or maybe not) has a crown of crimson neon, which is actually longhand writing that says ‘Westfield’, and beneath that a circle of emerald lights. It watches me. It is my familiar, clear and vivid in the rain rinsed air under the black and starless sky. Emerald lights encircle the tower above the crown of red writing.

I know there have been far more extensive falls of ice elsewhere; that in some country towns the streets have become rivers A police officer faces the camera and tells us that trying to drive in flood water is extremely foolish. Yet they still do it. Yes, idiots! Don’t drive in floodwater! You morons! Listen to the officer. As I grow older so does my faith in good cops grow. There are some. Listen, Koshie is all right. Okay? And Natalie has good legs. Forget that I said that. Aunt Joan didn’t mind my saying it. She agreed.

Hell, now I suddenly miss playing soccer with her dog, which often cheated by biting my socks and shoelaces as i ran dribbling the ball. I thought about issuing a yellow card, but knew it would be pointless and took her for a walk instead around Castle Cove. She was a miniature cattle dog and she has gone now too.


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