Other formats

    Adobe Portable Document Format file (facsimile images)   TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 27, No. 15. 1964.

[untitled poem from Building by Gordon Challis]

You have to be quick to stamp out your own shadow.
So first I got to know my shadow's ductile tricks
Of transformation: jet-black dwarf, diluted giant—
Sometimes both at once—rotated slowly
Like clock hands as I passed
Beyond the last street-lamp toward the next one,
Keeping double reckoning. Every time I pounced
My shadow dodged adroitly, ducked or swerved aside.
If only I could see one jump ahead, if only
I could beat his perfect sense of timing!
Then one day I used my lethal steel-stud boots
And caught him napping, flat-footed in full sunlight.
Got him good and hard right in the guts. He disappeared.
Went underground, a goner and good riddance.
People said: 'See here this man without a shadow,
A man through whom light shines, lies all about him,
A man more pure than rain and more transparent.'
I fear however another explanation:
What if I have not fully stamped him out?
Perhaps his absence is a mere delaying—
What if the lakes are low, the power failing.
And it is my own night that keeps him waiting?

—Gordon Challis

(From: Building—published by Caxton.)