Wild Lemons

for Don Dunstan


Through all those years keeping the present
open to the light of just this moment:
that was the path we found, you might call it
a promise, that starting out among blazed trunks
the track would not lead nowhere, that being set
down here among wild lemons, our bodies were
expected at an occasion up ahead
that would not take place without us. One
proof was the tough-skinned fruit among
their thorns; someone had been there before us
and planted these, their sunlight to be sliced
for drinks (they had adapted
in their own way and to other ends): another
was the warmth of our island, sitting still
in its bay, at midnight humming
and rising to its own concerns, but back,
heat-struck, lapped by clean ocean waters
at dawn. The present is always
with us, always open. Though to what, out there
in the dark we are making for as seven o'clock
strikes, the gin goes down and starlings
gather, who can tell? Compacts made
of silence, as a flute tempts out a few
reluctant stars to walk over the water. I lie down
in different weather now though the same body,
which is where that rough track led. Our sleep
is continuous with the dark, or that portion of it
that is this day's night; the body
tags along as promised to see what goes.
What goes is time, and clouds melting into
tomorrow of our breath, a scent of lemons
run wild in another country, but smelling always of themselves.

by David George Joseph Malouf

Comments (3)

I really liked this, it really touched me. Sad, but has so much truth
I like the originality of this poem, I think you should rewrite it without rhyming though, I think it detracts from your meaning in this case by forcing words that don't quite fit. There is beauty where ever someone is willing to look for it, keep writing your perspective is profound.
It is a same people judge a book by it's cover. In my eyes the treasure lays within the tattered dusty cover. Wonderful insight Patricia Gale