Warmth in July like first clear days of spring,
and sunlight glints in mirrors, windows, pools;
the heat hangs in the garden like a stare.
The light is still abrupt with winter’s sting
but change is upon us; change is everywhere.
The sun shows nothing but a strict repose:
a net of trees, each twig a wired nail;
I look as through a cage into the sky
and see beyond the blue this season chose
the strident blue within a peacock’s tail.
Why should this warmth remind me of my death?
And could I bear such clarity while dying?
Such hard precision suggests nothing more.
The sharpness of the light has caught my breath
with so much stillness. Not one insect flying.
The light is caught: no shadow overflows.
And nothing’s yet begun. No season’s ended.
All buds are merely knowledge in the mind.
Implicit in the twig is hip and rose;
but waiting, waiting too is still intended.
We seek too soon the end, the final things;
we try to grasp the whole and miss the part
and we betray both detail and design.
But feel the light and how it soaks and stings
and taste the blue where branches fall apart
till all your knowledge is mere warmth and glow,
all apprehension—as of sensual ease:
a sense of sure precision deep in things.
The year has still its separate months to go
but change is promised and awakenings.
Vivian Smith (born 1933) is an Australian poet. He is considered one of the most lyrical and observant Australian poets of his generation.