Two Poems

Glyn Maxwell

England Germany

The boys were risen right out of their seats
By the wind the whistle cued, they pushed along
In the damp and heavy-coated crowd away
From all of it, away from this one song
The man beside them knew. Rough cigarettes
He’d prodded at them while he had his say
About the action. Now where was he gone,
They wondered. Not so far: he’d only paused
A sec to cup a hand to his white face
As the flame he got kept blowing out. This caused
The men behind to eff and blind this one
Obstruction tottering in the one place
They had to be. In good part the boys too
Had something left to share with him: some crack
About his not-in-fact-that-lucky stone,
But when they turned again he still hung back,
Striking and striking as men muscled through
Obscuring him, till he became unknown.

In the Rain Forest

Everything is alive. Everything is giant.
The light and dark are giant, even the rain is listing the giants.
There are three of us, Jack-size, with our caboclo guide, João,

who’s showing us through the rain
to things it is so unlikely we shall ever see again
it’s hard to see them now. We just see each other seeing them now

so we know they’re there
when we get the wet hell out of here
as each of us is politely about to

erupt in suggesting happens now.
And João,
barelegged (if he dies we’re dead), from nowhere finds a pouch

once he sees we have to stop,
and, talking in Portuguese (we can’t) starts patting up
a roly, while we listen to how far

we are from understanding him. We nod, want to explain
we can smile this far from home
but we can’t

stretch any further. Anywhere
we have to leave for ever
we shrink home through ourselves, we start to

slouch and pester, whine like teens,
dream like children,
leak like babies,

disappear from sense.
Once
he knows we have to go and makes the sign of palms

to show he’ll do it, take us home, he turns
and we
unbelievably

think twice and go quite still.
We let him walk away a while,
we stay,

just us, till he misses us,
if he misses us. In no time he does
and he’s not remotely surprised to see us

linger here. He lights
his tiny flame and, shy as a first-time father, waits
to save us.