The yellow crocuses
break open the ochre clay.
It's good to notice them,
you say. We sit together
on the green garden bench
beneath an oak. Quercus
robur. That reassuring
lyricism of the Latin names
displayed on little plaques...
I look across the pond.
Carp nuzzle their shadows
on the weeded rocks.
And leaning back, arms
stretched out and then back,
you open up, the body
and its light unsheathed.
The light given up to light,
petals on the water.
Death is similar to this:
your hands are flowering
in that space behind
your head, and listening.
It is almost as though
something else is breathing
quite close by, invisibly.
the mystery of the names...
Acuba japonica. And
I am listening, seeing. Seeing,
like someone twice alive.
Tekapo in Winter
Rock, thorn, cryptogram, each has significance.
Right along the lake-shore, shattered
blocks of greywacke, lineated with white
trails of quartz, intaglios of crystalline
intrusions through the Torlesse rock—
and in the vast blue of distance, shining
snow and brilliant frosted light
intersect on ridges, cols and summits.
Baudelaire, they say, especially loved
that word: vast. Well, just you try
the skies at Tekapo, by day or night.
Look up at night, for instance—
try looking at the stars above the lake
and say it: vast. then listen... Realise
how the syllable diminishes into so much
sky. Just think about it, how to image
all this intent immensity, opening
itself out there, in here, between
all the known and unknown possibilities.
You find yourself centred by these lines
of thought, such bright filaments
connecting universals and particulars.
You look for signs, associations—
anything that means. Tonight, however,
you find nothing... Always it takes time
to see it. Go to bed, sleep. Outside,
a silent cosmos reaches down, inscribes
its precise geometries into the ice
forming on the surface of the pond.
Beside the broken doorway
pause, recall another childhood
hieroglyphed on walls
dividing time, before and after:
images, glazed by years of
firings. Or those other
of their mark, the existential
I was here their familiar
riposte to the Egyptian
Death is in my eyes today.
Graffiti are those dislocations
then and now. My hand
brushes over the brick surface
like a renaissance painter
testing the fresco's texture
before applying the first colour.
In this quickened air—
burnt lime, Easter. Something
in the soul which always
thirsts. History here is too
slender, buildings such as this
must register our need
some inward space for this
anhydrous culture. Something.
But it simply is a lime kiln.
Outside, the valley watches.
As though the word might rise
along a dark horizon.
As though the rain might come.
As though this lime
might suddenly draw breath.
In/habiting the Landscape
The aureole of light along the ridge
is really something. We
are walking back from Boulder Bay
talking sometimes, mostly
silent now, aware of how it was—
the body's heat, light of eyes
that sudden summer of our knowing
while sea-birds heightened
the sky outside the basalt overhang.
Now you trail your fingers
through the seed-heads by the track
as two mountain bikers
beat up the steep bits, braking hard
in the loosened loess
banked up against the outside corner.
We stop to let them pass
nod acknowledgements of courtesies.
Your glances are delicious.
So many things are happening at once.
Three Southern Right whales
shape-shift the sea off Godley Head.
They are something else.