Title: ladies mile

Author: Michele Leggott

In: Sport 9: Spring 1992

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, November 1992, Wellington

Part of: Sport

Keywords: Verse Literature

Conditions of use



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Sport 9: Spring 1992

♣ Michele Leggott — ladies mile

page 137

Michele Leggott

ladies mile

Silence has been important too, pharaoh

gliding through the lips of those who are asleep

Fig crop in my hands, lotus pool in flower

I was in another place when they came to me

and the bright edges of lacunae are seldom torn

by accident Then fall off the edge of the earth

left hand under my head right embracing me

Why should you wish distance any greater than this?

I am quiet and we are writing in the throat

of all languages The library at Alexandria burns

but my heart is a pool where the white birds step

among incipient papyri A world of water

trims a world of fire for Osiris fluid in the blue

and gold of a moment's trust in the driving
page 138 Coming home like a derelict Egyptian, changing

worlds, a baby delivered in a jacaranda mist just

like mine The trees are quiet now, the baby grown

and sorrow gone from the place it lay down in

long before I was born What are we going to do

about that moon in the ngaio tree beating like

a fontanelle? Can we go on reading the summer

constellations that do not pretend to be literature?

Cicadas Avocados But where's that frightening dog

sorrow? Lord butterfly on lord hibiscus spray

are we through crying and the heart's big conversation

with pain? Two sons, two sons and crowning

isn't a light word any more than a light kiss

resembles a dark one Which you are
page 139 Suppose, sweet eyes, you went into a distant country

mad with the honey and the noon in your throat

a fiery drizzle of rip and glory asking: Where

are the words that broke the heart with beauty?
Not as plains that spread into us slowly, but as

a wind wet with carillons or winter's cold isthmus

in the azure year, you will find the frontiered heart

and write a script of stars across its salt and snow

Birds that think in oceans come and go, their chart

behind their eyes that scarcely sleep Your mouth's adrift

with ghosts of fire the salt has burned to noontide

blue Your sweetness ripples through the rain

of a country to which you may never return You

are the still caesura that breaks a line in two
page 140 Leaf, leaf, how can I be sane enough

or mad enough to touch or leave untouched

what silence has to say? Had I your eyes

your eyes I loved this lifetime, wonder's eyes

and the sun's voice against the nights of eaten moons

would my oppressions be healed? Sometimes

fighting and dying are better than anything else

Back to the laughter of alien lips and eyes

how shall my heart find home? I sleep

out of my bones so much bouquet just so much

bite in crystal those cool-dissolving wrists distil

from the sweet landfall water It is dark

within daylight The stranger is made of words

that swing by an island's shadow
page 141 Smile at that mountain where love was

eaten on a morning when the world held still

in the rain's embrace a promise of iris blue

In the heart every moment a splitting of the moon

in the belly picnics of sky and dancing zephyrs

Be loved be happy, feed and be fattened on this

A weekend in winter lemon butter thickening

over slow heat, two candy boys ecstatic

on the juicer, Persian mystics on top of the fridge

glinting elevation and excess Stir and shout

give them feet off the green couch right now the works!

The parrots of my soul have begun to chew sugar

they turn up the music and dance loopsville

one in my arms whirled in a golden mirror
page 142 Running water you are the phoenician's mouth

lute-curved and eating his dreams like flame

I have lost the light of your laughter, very cool

and sweet the breath of limes or an aureole

of waters falling where a hand might cup the breast

of one who like the young moon is white

and strange and slender The gleaming human

lamp on your mad ship's shoulder is a woman

drawn up by the fine chain of silence white

and unbroken about her neck Her full breast

pours out a mirth of stars, bright areolae

or glittering revolution in heaven's cool

breathing of lines which set the double-curved flame

of the lover sea against her laughing mouth
page 143 Jewelling, or if The Silenced laugh

memory from the wheel of white stars turning

against the sky, what should the thought of my heart

do but flood out the empty heavens? These were

my children, my beloved Take them, hold them forever

as you held them first, small bodies motive

in a sea of air and learning the warm animal

from us all walking in the houses of the sun

Lifts, utter mirror of his hand on the wheel

the strategy of repeats that still gesture him

live in a world filling with the tears of Isis

We have been sad too long Close up this desolate

house and drive to where the island's wet light

candours the moon and the river wider than a smile