The Spike or Victoria College Review 1946
Perfect Before Practice
Perfect Before Practice
How widely have I wandered through the many meanings,
Through the half real nights, past the truth in the days,
Avoiding the blunt, the indelicate immovables,
And coining new worlds at a hint from the moon
Above the trees, from the wind through the hollow,
From the blankness of the night awaiting meaning.
O Where shall I find you, where have I to make you,
And are you truth, or a girl.
Quietly have the paths forming here as I wander,
Pointed so carefully to hills above the trees,
And the fine-drawn hand of the wind along the valley
Has reminded my wonder to the hills beneath the sky,
Where the night has gone dark and is blank in sorrow,
Waiting through the world for the peace of meaning.
O Where shall I find you, where have I to guide you,
And, are you real, or a girl.
Is she waiting, over the red hill?
And does the white wind truly reveal
The faint perfume that we have known so well?
Shall I at last see right out, to the horizon,
Coming up the red side of the valley,
Reaching the source of the fragrant, falling wind?
Where I have been the water only shouted,
The waves were short and green-hard,
Dissatisfied with their unextended tumult.
Yet when I close the last hollow of the hill
And the page rustle of the grass is gone,
She will speak, and we shall no longer be waiting.
"He has gone over the hill, is dead," they will say.
"We always thought he was a mad-alone."
Yet from the red horizon she says I shall bring her,
From the high hill we come, she and I, ever back,
To unfold the old pages before you,
Bring the red sun down the valley side.
Ghosts at the window in golden, fine=drawn hair
That you cannot touch nor take,
Stand woven, in the mist between the glass and the hard night.
They've come to watch where we can see them there
Where our working lamp-night
Leaves the window and house walls, fades and stops at the glass-hard night.
And the owl in the sleepless tree has his lines to say,
The mice in the hardened harden rustle the dead leaves,
And the too-quiet, breathing house twitches its creaky veins.
The Pretty girl with red lips and the coral
That you cannot touch or take,
Has gone away home and sleeps in her personal room.
She's left this last day, the old mark of her lips,
And now in the friendly lamp-light
That breaks from the outer walls, shades and finely spots the night
The ghosts have come. And I have my lines to say,
Am reading, reading, reading, hustling the crackly pages,
Breaking the house-quiet home with the fire in its paper veins.