C.K. Stead

From the Notebook with the Paua Shell Swan

hullo death
is that you
with the hole in the head
or just another Picasso?

*


jump
the letters are jumping
watch the words jump
as in McCahon

JUMP

*


the leaves next door
are raging

how I love the world
and will be sad
to see it go

*


words have given me access
to the inside
of the inside
of the mind

whose mind?
mine

the mine of the mind

*


god is dying in the desert of the mind
no god            no god

god is dying in the desert of the mind

no good           no god

god is dying in the desert of the mind
no god             no god

JUMP

*


ward 81
late beyond any o’clock
‘what’s your name, nurse?’
‘winnie’
‘ah’
and winnie: ‘sorry
not to have told you.’

*


rain
on the white rose
in the green garden

the rose
should not mean
but be

the rain also

*


in Xanadu did Karlson Stead
a stately pleasure dome decree

DOME

thank god for the wound
you are stripped

*


remember the world
when it was new?

it’s old now
seventy-two

but full of reminders

*


I think
therefore I am

I think
therefore I think
I am

therefore I am
(I think)

and a voice
out of the nowhere
of your head:
‘oh darling
your dark days
are only beginning’

*


doctors
go walking
down cool green corridors

soft-soled
nurses are numbers /
numbness

patient
is pain
is pen

*


stripped
disclaimed
misnumbered
unremembered
you have become
the unencumbered
whipped
soul
of the noun
and the verb

*


the train in the night
the rain on the roof

spain

the train in the night
the rain on the roof

plain

(mainly)

*

since the little river
in the dark interior
blocked or broke —
8 daze
and clearing

*


waking
to make a note of
my best friend Shakespeare
met in a dream
carrying his
caesura
and ‘a vagabond
flag upon
a stream’

*


mort lock
mort lock
mort lock

JUMP

*


choices     discriminations
this word  /  that word
meanings and their song

the mind as
source and sieve
the heart
hearing itself —

you’re alive, Karlson
you’re writing!

*


of men and of angels
sounding brass
and a tinkling cymbal

of men and of angels
sounding brass
and a tinkling symbol

but the JUMP
will move mountains

*


then I saw clearly
now
through a glass darkly
last
will be not-at-all

but the lordship of the word
is for ever

*


every man is an island

do not therefore ask
for whom the head aches

it aches for thee

*


the lore
long ago learned
is the loam

(DOOM)

is the loom

(DOME)

and the lordship of the word
is for ever

*


no wish
to be part of the past
fuck history
give me the now
(please)
give me it
now

*


eavesdropper
(leavesdropper
on the drenched day)
and the bro in the next ward
‘nurse —
any chance of a smoke?’

*

and mid-may’s eldest child
the tui
full of chips of sound

(and full of remainders)

*


when it comes to
Menton     Uzes     Rapallo
memory
is future tense
and may deceive

we call it hope

*


hullo Mum

yes it is
it’s me
couldn’t you tell?

I know but I’m old
you see
and not very well

*

Reluctant
to walk out on
the comfort
of my own body

*


a clean sheet?
no!
life’s rough on the sheets

and would I want to be dying
(if I were dying)
regretting anything
but the things not done?

*


faith    hope    the JUMP
these three abide
and the greatest of these
is the JUMP

Author’s Note

Sources

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