for Georg Trakl

    Autumn can last a lifetime.
    There can never be enough blue and black.
    Wandering has a passion of its own.
    A suffering without direction.
    There is only one month.
    There is only one large death.
    The country opens onto its unploughed fields.
    A short lyric is one who passes.
    Made of earth and coarse poetry.
    No longer ears and eyes.
    No longer indignance and inclination.
    What sort of desire is unreasonable?
    What sort of living?
    Landscapes occur as if they were limits.
    Repentance seeps from the body in breath.
    Winds have speech with shadows.
    Paths break into the infinity along their sides.
    Autumn again after the last Autumn. Beyond, a man's back.
    He is always walking away.
    He turns many times to glimpse his executions.
    The world is empty of him.
    Only time is filled to the brim with his unending selves.
    Everywhere they vanish like fallen snow.... more »


    for Jack Gilbert

    The fog in these mountains
    is a reminder
    of how far up our feet are
    when they are on the ground.
    As the baby has aged
    she has taken up wrestling
    with my breast.
    As if the milk had bones.
    The gorge is like owning something
    frightening, merging with the self
    what won't sustain life.
    The stars' odour.
    The man who felt so keenly
    that all around him hearts broke
    like the tears of a young girl
    for an animal.
    Occasionally you hear the gunshot
    and yellow-headed birds
    with the fan of their wings
    spin fear into beauty.
    The children don't remember the city.
    Its expensive horizon.
    Here, they listen to a history
    of sing-song in the rain.
    Here, where God never says anything.... more »


    He climbed a persimmon tree
    And became a persimmon
    For four and half hours
    And when they came
    He had to question them
    If they were human
    Because their names
    Were in their pockets.
    As a persimmon Lindsay
    Was very successful
    If out of season
    And heavy for the branch:
    When nameless they came
    To lay the tree down
    He was as sweet
    And without fear as a fruit.
    Becoming a persimmon
    Is good for a man
    And becoming a man again
    Is like something
    You must admit.
    The persimmon in its skin
    Unlike a man knows
    Exactly what destiny
    Is doing today.... more »


    for P.B.
    ‘I am looking for sunlight'

    I saw your world begin
    A night of dawns
    Time kept coming round to that
    Our reception of the light
    The silence of the sun
    As it crept spectacularly
    Towards us

    When I saw how it revealed you
    My own paths curved
    To find the circle
    They had once been

    Words here are simply sighs
    The hums and satisfactions of animals
    Click in the back of my throat
    That might be the cricket or cicada
    In Summer ventriloquy
    Or the snake becoming new
    Over the friendly rock

    It has become simple for me
    To think of these things now
    That the idea of the fragment
    Has given its secrets
    To the whole

    The leaves which feared separation
    And the water telling and retelling
    Itself passes by the place of this event
    Only to pass again
    The sky with that big voice saved
    For the moments its own story is known
    The earth:

    Come on little bird
    The trees are holding you up
    Come possum
    With your hearty feet leaving prints
    On the porcelain roofs of dreams
    Come grains
    And mountains, lakes, orchards
    Leave your importance
    And follow these clouds
    To where they have no meaning

    Are you coming
    With your knowledge of origins and regret?
    Children, bring the hearts
    Of forests
    And the abilities of the sand

    We'll walk over that hill
    Where the path curves out of sight
    Do not rush
    It is not the future ahead of us
    But a slow becoming
    Time weaves itself
    Into the very swing of your arms
    That space left
    Where you lift your foot... more »


    Where am I going with this pain
    Marvellous for a lot of things
    - for climbing walls
    - and crawling scalps
    - for leaving the moment
    out of pure desperation
    But with my mind packed up,
    where do I go?

    to a church?
    No the church is full of glassblowers
    this pain is not fragile enough
    for their pursed lips to blow

    to a butcher?
    No there they have red hands
    this pain is too raw and lonely
    for their sharp blades to cleave

    to the town hall?
    No the town hall echoes with excuses
    this pain is too forgetful of its host
    for apologies

    So I took it to a bridge
    And half way out -
    with the prospect of somewhere to go -
    that crazy pain jumped!
    And I went in after it
    believing that even this death
    should not go
    uncompanioned... more »


    Half the Shadowed World

    Sleep, like peaches
    fallen to the ground
    (hand pressed to the

    cheek), boot-bruised
    side cannot feel.
    Juice in the earth.

    Shadow of a Unicorn

    This horse on its knees
    in the field
    Pretending to be a unicorn
    As horses play and imagine
    Another day
    A night
    Black trees . . .

    The horse on its feet
    has grown a horn and saddle
    Imagines the voice
    Of a rider:
    Those far hills
    Are simply shadows
    Of these you stand on . . .

    The Doorweb

    Listen at the keyhole of light.
    The doorweb.
    Shimmering across.
    Shimmering like a cocked horse.
    Ready to fire.

    Hot hooves are on my head tonight.
    The room's flat and dark as ears.
    On the roof the cumquat tree.
    Offering sweet peel to the moon.

    My bed.
    Is filled up with time.... more »


    sun & rain

    ‘What is there here but weather, what spirit
    Have I except it comes from the sun?'

    I have grown my wisdom
    on summer days

    and watered it with both rain
    and melting snow

    I have helped it
    up ladders

    and sat with it
    still upon a tired step

    I have tasted it like a bite
    of fruit and unlike fruit

    savoured that same bite
    over and over

    I have moved it
    within my arms

    and of nights cried for it
    to leave me sleeping

    and then dreamed it
    to take a different form

    something now unknown
    and not like any shape

    I have whispered or word
    I ran my hands about

    I was shocked but don't know why
    I should have been

    when I looked in a mirror
    painted over

    and I let my wisdom die
    with the relaxing cells

    that slow upon my body
    and quickly fall aside

    I use it to discard myself well
    in the world

    and when the world
    is not mine

    I will have no need
    of the glorious shelter it will erect

    in the place where that which
    has sheltered me now stands

    in the end I will sit down
    without it

    and know nothing
    of the weather

    sun & rain 2

    Are sun and rain narratives
    that focus on collective experience
    or does this warmth
    on the bridge of my nose,
    this droplet hanging
    from the hair of my brow,
    weave itself from a story
    that needs no universe?

    I honestly don't want
    to muck around with the weather.
    It seems to have
    such a nice indifference.
    Like the storm that just came in
    and destroyed all our hopes
    after such a beautiful Summer.
    Remember our sincerity.... more »


    for R.M.

    I love shaking the bones in your arm
    the humerus, radius and ulna.

    Some people have such bones -
    men, like you, across the top of the back!

    I love you at the train station
    so young . . .

    The song of that bird
    executed only in the morning and evening.

    I love the way
    you just do it!

    Perfect commas, two profiles, eyelashes
    moles and turtles in your smile.

    I love the movement between our reality
    and imagination - that gold step

    then my head empties into the whir of the day
    all brain stem!

    I love your judgement: chaise-longue
    in that spacious room of possibility

    filled with sun and poetry and music
    and the pain you will not deny.

    I love the little red hat
    that makes you look like someone else

    and the early fruit you pick for me
    when I am overcome by ripeness.

    I love fucking you
    most of all:

    there is no corresponding analysis
    and we become very old and not yet born . . .

    I love wrapping the bones of my legs around you
    femur, tibia and fibula -

    only with you
    can I feel my heart.

    I love its weightiness
    that I have learned

    through the long, slow practise
    of you.... more »


    1. one excuse

    One excuse was to say
    I forgot the time
    (or you simply ran out
    of time)

    Time, for something so
    (lying on the beach):
    works remarkably well
    (we always used it
    instead of humour)

    There was always plenty
    of it
    to fight in
    And none left
    to quickly make love in
    the morning (before work)

    (We'll make up for it
    But there was a storm
    (and you had to spend
    the night)
    in another town
    looking over the sun

    But rain rains down
    inside my ear
    With that noise
    inside of shells
    (It never changes)
    and I can't hear
    (that you are waiting)

    But I don't need
    any evidence to know
    that time
    is culpable

    2. two ways of arriving at surrealism

    How many dreams
    present the life of the protagonist?
    the girl with only one heart?
    someone on the run?

    He was standing on the corner
    miming a scene of torture
    when he heard the first sound
    (more like somethin' bashed into somethin'
    than somethin' bashed loose)
    and his leg fell into the gutter
    He had his foot in the stream
    The sun, just pulling up its toes
    under that cloud
    At that moment he knew
    just what that leg was worth
    (he had no idea, exactly,
    what a leg was worth)

    The girl was walking,
    so slow down the beach
    Crying. Her tears
    delivered up to her
    by clouds
    with tiny hands of salt
    She's got straight hair
    and a new nose
    (they bashed it with a little hammer
    till it came loose)
    It was worth a lot to her -
    she even gave up
    being the Queen of Egypt

    And it was only by accident:
    the car with a scalpel;
    the surgeon losing control;
    inside a shell, the sky -

    3. three times around the moon

    And it's just a game
    Put it up to your ear

    Out driving
    the shadows rush to meet us
    Our mistakes

    He asked
    Can we still be in love
    when dirt is falling
    from the sun
    With the moon
    rolling its knuckles
    over my back

    And she was slow
    like a snail
    to answer
    Go another three
    times round
    the sky
    It's safe -
    we live inside... more »


    Mountains, valleys, rivers merge
    The land hides itself
    in landscape
    The day's form buried in my eye
    like a grandmother in her coffin

    The havoc of life is closed to the look
    The shadow has taken to one eye
    Ancient nights are never as old
    as the days, simply light
    all seen, unsaveable

    The bittenness of her face
    Madarosis and skin submerged
    in sweet lake of destruction
    deeper than this time
    I note with now

    The book that is better
    tells of your embrace
    The rockweed and the small fish
    being careful in the nooks
    of tossed waters

    Death is not sudden
    like stumbling into this love
    but takes every beat of the heart
    Joy married over and over
    to the cough, the wheeze, the biographer... more »


    Water, water song
    my body flows with
    thoughts and blood

    Remember the sickness
    when my body would
    allow not even water

    I would die in a place
    with no rustles
    no movement

    A bird would come
    without moving
    its wings

    Perhaps in the
    of fire

    There would be so much
    life in it
    Like a stream it could tell me

    where it had been
    What other kinds
    of love it had known... more »