There was always a pit of fire, the backyard fence,
And a taut figure venturing the unknown;
The peach-tree, gaudy with loosened fruit and a rope swing
Sang Chastel Merveilleus in plainsong;
A thousand narrow windows diamonded the sun.
The swinging rope burnt the abyss, dark from dark
And a prince at the other side held out his arms
To me, having braved all perils for love.
Childhood creates the pit, the happy ending,
In the certitude of tea, sleep and tomorrow.
Now, walking down Collins Street with the leaves
Hurting the sky and the buildings falling away,
Where are the shining balls I tossed up to the sun
To dazzle my eyes with what I could not catch?
In a croaking pool, playthings of a frog.
I am emptyhanded on the edge of the abyss;
Blackness appals my ears and there is no prince —
Sir Scudamore — no castle but a mouldering tree
Throwing up its sterile fruit in the greening light;
And the iron tower waiting to maw its own.