Sport 33: Spring 2005
I awoke this morning
with your heart inside me
small feckless, rueful thing
I should have known you'd
never really gone, ghost
of my girlhood and all things
sad, the one called mother
the one the other sister had.
I can't even imagine that I lived
inside you as a little bud,
a little dream, a star, a hope.
My aunt, who knew you best,
told me you would come to them crying
with your belly big, saying
'It's dead, it's dead.'
Your favourite stories pick me out
as being bad from birth.
'You'd only drink your bottle in a dark room by yourself
and you were five months old
always, always a difficult child.'
I think I fell into your darkness from far, far away
swinging like a little lantern in a stormy sea
seeking hope, seeking peace, seeking solace.
The fulcrum in the firmament, a place
where I could balance
between your sorrow and your fear,
your rage and your pain.
Tonight when I try for sleep
I will pray for your heart to leave me
and for my little lantern to bring me home.
for Olga Fairhall
Not far from the beach and the big groaning pines, the wind
through the open window in the dark
swells in the tops of the willows
and sighs, that is the sound of the leaves,
swelling and sighing in the wind.
From my bed I can see the stars,
the dark lifted by the moon.
The swelling and sighing will break in time
as if the heart of the world had broken open
and from somewhere in that deep dark comes a river
rushing, people streaming to the banks, waving, yelling
in jubilation at the uprooted trees, the floating houses,
all lights in a storm on, all livestock safe.
The tragedy been and gone, they are waking
to the wonder of the stories of their lives.
The rabbit shivers
under a grey sky.
These men are hungry
and death is quick and kind.
The pot, having survived the kitchen
in the empty building, becomes alive
with purpose for the rabbit.
The men are quiet while it is cooking,
absorbing the aroma and its nostalgia.
They squat by the small fire
they are hollowed out but happy.
Behind them three men
keep trying to enter a room
carrying a large old couch.
It is too wide for the door,
it needs to be turned on its side
and gently manoeuvred to and fro
as if they were dancing.
But music has long since left them.
They simply walk forward to the obstacle, hit it
and then back away.
The meat is ready, they hadn't hurried this,
they had shown patience and thought,
they took the rabbit's life with care.
They all lean forward
saliva welling in their weary mouths
under the assault
of too much pepper.
It is enough this time,
to make them cry.