Title: Sport 31: Spring 2003

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, November 2003

Part of: Sport

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Sport 31: Spring 2003



page 226

Necklace of Stones

Each line will be hard.
Each component part
will be hard.

Nothing but water and light
binds these islands

See, when I look
you in the eye both our eyes
are stony.

Black and ownerless.

Landlocked. Charmed.
Askew. That was me
in Europe.

Here: I could be
a fragment of paua shell,
jagged and dazzling

on black cord
at your throat.
Not what I am

a small grey stone.

page 227

A blank world of windows.

The light was so soft
I could have chiselled this line
into the stone wall

of the village church
but no amendment or by-law
would allow it.

So I turned from stone
to a page of brittle,
half-burnt paper.

Try writing on that!

And you. Still you want
to be a native bird, a territory.
You have another thing

coming. Each phrase a pebble,
each pebble a beach.
So hard

is the light that rain keeps coming
down to subdue it.
Can you chorus,

or sky-dive in this light?

page 228

Last Night by Water

The lake is beginning its entry into the realm
of silver and orange consciousness. The village clock is striking

nine times lightly. Two great oaks are leaning out
over the water while a low-flying bird blesses its length.

In a long ceremony, the snow-peaked Alps are receiving
the last rites and two ducks with fifteen ducklings

are gliding out into the darkening lake like fragments
of a dream whose mood is one of ecstatic sanity.

I am standing on the jetty with my right hand upturned
testing for rain. In a dream I saw a bomb dropped.

A young man urged us to leave everything, to run
and to enter the solace and shelter of water.

page 229


Who put the el
in the word, world,
changing things forever?

It must have been later:
not in the beginning.

An old woman perhaps
—in the days before writing
when words dwelt in the body—
resting her tongue a little sooner than usual,
by chance and lovingly, on the roof
of her mouth before sounding the d
that is always ending the word word.

The roof of the world appeared.
All along the horizon. Layers
and layers of hills, lovely
and potentially touchable.