The eyeless laborer in the night, the selfless, shapeless seed I hold, builds for its resurrection day – silent and swift and deep from sight foresees the unimagined light. This is no child with a child’s face; this has no name to name it by. Yet you and I have known it well. This is our hunter and our chase, the third who lay in our embrace. This is the strength that your arm knows, the arc of flesh that is my breast, the precise crystals of our eyes. This is the blood’s wild tree that grows; the […]
At the full face of the forest lies our little town; Do thou from thy lookout to heaven, O lory! come down. Come, charge with thy challenge of colour our thoughts cool and thin, Descend with the blood of the sunlight: O lory! come in. The clouds are away, ’tis October, the glees have begun; Thy breast has the valour of music, O passionate one! The rhythm is thine, the beloved, the unreason of Spring; How royal thy raiment! No sorrow is under thy wing. O thou of intrepid apparel, thy song is […]
Upon the burning mountain stands the palm. Deeper was its grove than the heart’s night, And hung with green the spring rose under it. Hidden in miles of leaves stood the great palm, That column of a thousand years. Too sharp, too bright burned this winter’s sun. The wind’s fine fever withered and pierced. O, time that brings us harm undoes our knowledge, dries our sap and love: upon the burning mountain burns the palm within the burning grove. ‘I am that which is not able to be whole’, says the fire: ‘and therefore I devour, seeking the absolute […]
There is a golden half-light on the hill, And the moon’s ghost above. The half-light is the time that I have still Left with my love. And the moon’s ghost is what I shall be, when Her life’s in the half-light. What shall we be a little later, then; Night, or a star in the night?
The year’s drought washed to mud in autumn rains, How flowery sweet the lost spring bursts the wood! No stay to mourn the barren summer’s dead. No darkened silence where the fallen stood. This is the hour when all the living sing Lightening their honeyed silks along the air, Mad with the clean sun and the shining world, Knowing this bright, brief moment all their share Of lengthening day and slow warm summer fruiting. Feeling already how the heart-beat fails Where coldly lifts above the southern skyline The first blue wing-tip of the winter gales. Nan McDonald (1921 – […]
I had expected the dumb scorn of the world. Seeing that I had chosen to decline the wine cups and the proffered hands of the world, and even disgraced myself in the eyes of love coming cynically with dollars and gum. I am not such a fool but I should have been prepared To meet the averted long silence of friends.
Embryonic snarls herald in lover’s ear; panther and viper like a traveller coming leafing the ice channels of winter roads. with the warm and wired pattern of their bloods. As it were, the eye locates its zoo and the new captives catch old echoes, reprint the stamp of “very good” at school. and cages now crestfallen eagles are, the bars of wings huddled to the side, and the limp glint of lidless eye. curses the fingers of passersby whose torments of cheap peanuts shower the bird’s heart like bullets. The amorous alligator, glutted with lust, sinks its breast in the […]
Lightly, O lightly we bear her along, She sways like a flower in the wind of our song, She skims like a bird on the foam of a stream, She floats like a laugh on the lips of a dream, Gaily O gaily we glide and we sing, We bear her along like a pearl on a string Soft, O softly we bear her along, She hangs like a star on the wind of our song She springs like a beam on the brow of the tide She falls like a tear from the eyes of the bride Lightly, […]
Tunnelling through the night, the trains pass in a splendour of power, with a sound like thunder, shaking the orchards; waking the young from a dream; scattering like glass the old men’s sleep: laying a black trail over the still bloom of the orchards; the trains go north with guns. Strange, primitive piece of flesh, the heart laid quiet, hearing their cry pierce through its thin-walled cave recalls the forgotten tiger, and leaps awake in its old panic riot: how, too, shall mind be sober, since blood’s red thread still binds us fast in history? Tiger, you walk through all […]
This sweep of sky lit now by gold-white clouds, Rounded and full, maternal breasts leant over The young brown furrows, promising Their slopes with sweetest rain to cover, Burst on me with one soul-awakening shock Of glad surprise. my eyes Blinded by beauty after the long dark Of inward-downward looking. Gnarled old vines March down the slope in ordered lines, Each trunk withered and brown as weathered rock. Theresa the Yugoslav who works beside me Chides at my idleness: “You do not care for money then? You mark My words, you better hurry …” But I stand, Wet golden […]
The leaves are gone from the tree, Eddying. We too, wind-cold, with the leaves Revolving. We that were green in the sun Have the yellow of death in our veins. The tree is gaunt in the star-shells, Silver and black, grotesque. And the voice of the wind is a myth In the shouts of the hate. We know of our end— The fear is over for us. But we think and we think– O God! Will there be Spring again?
The planes seem to crash into my room. I feel their wings lurch In torment of darkness And silver; they leave their shadow Flat for an instant, then run Across the floor, like mice. One long, little shadow of death. Sweep, dip, roar in the sudden Zipped bass of them Above my roof, and I crouch down. I am nothing but the seed of fear, Crouching under the plane’s white Ribbed bellies. They are dark and silver in sunlight. Yet in my room they become Little shadows, scimetar slim as Fugitive fear, little shadows left For an instant at my […]