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The Spike or Victoria University College Review 1948

Love Poems

page 21

Love Poems


At the great water's edge
Golden Narcissus lies;
Hand propped under his chin;
Bees at his thighs;
His eyes fixed on nothing
Where his image lies.
O Echo, Echo.

Like the neck of a swan,
In the indifferent stream
The other hand trails;
Sleek as cream
Are his dimpled cheeks;
His plump mouth dreams.
O Echo, Echo.

The bruised flower of his mouth,
The honey-bee stings;
Rain in his small delicious ears,
Like a dragonfly sings
At noon; between his toes
The grasshopper springs.
O Echo, Echo.

Closes a blue-veined lid
On velvet eyes;
Falls the sleek hand; falls
The hand from the thighs;
From the brimming mirror dim,
The image flies.
O Echo, Echo.

In his great golden helmet
The small wren builds;
To the bee his rotten rich mouth
Sweet honey yields:
This proud young man like a stage
Once trod these fields.
O Echo, Echo.

For this is great Narcissus
Who moulders here;
Watercress grows from his eyes
And grass from his ears;
From his thigh a honey-sleek flower
At its image stares.
O Echo, Echo.

page 22


Girls in bright frocks
Will never be done
With laughing; the rocks
Hum like a gramophone

To the electric pulse
Of the sea; the tired
Crafts slowly waltz
On the distending tide.

A dog barks at the waves;
Brilliant naked thighs
Flash as a yielding grave
Closes on her; surprise

Upon her; field of veil-white
Flowers drifting seaward,
Drifting seaward. Bird alights
On sand, cruel eyes seaward.

Face downward on the flood,
My true love lies;
Like a swan with not a word to say,
My true love lies.

Fish leap at her crumbling mouth
Where my kisses lay;
The waves roll her body over and over
Forever and a day.

Eyes look your last, hand touch,
Mouth you may seek;
Heart, break into a thousand pieces:
She sleeps, she sleeps.

O great black dog on the sand
Trembling exquisite with fear;
Bark, bark at the down-crumbling waves:
She may hear, she may hear.

But your tail is between your legs,
Your whining fills me with fear;
And my words lie bruised on the waves,
And the seawind blinds me with tears.


Warm heart, warm mouth,
Lie still; lie beautiful.
page 23 You have no need to stir
Anymore, today;
You have no other function to fulfil.

Was it like this you
Lay, cool in your frock,
When your lover came
And kissed you
In the grass, and you lay still as a rock?

Is this white hand
A dove, that the small
Wind seems to lift it from
The grass, lady
In the frock that half from the shoulder falls?

Are your eyes flowers?
Do they call you Rose,
May or Elizabeth? And are
Your limbs always
So white they show like snowflakes on the grass?

Warm heart, warm mouth,
Lie still; lie beautiful.
You have no need to stir
Anymore, today;
You have no other function to fulfil.


I should have met you at the outskirts
Of your populous childhood, emerging
With your blonde face exquisite with wonder
Out of the golden shadows that used
To romp and whisper like silk about you,
And invite you into their marvellous
Intrigues. O love, I should have seen you then,
Sleek head golden with wonder, stepping
Like Venus out of the rustling folds
Of your childhood. Not now. Not now.

Now you are constantly
Foolish; constantly smiling in drink.
The freshness has worn (someone has taken
The sun!) The mask slips away from the face
At a ridiculous angle when you least
Expect it to; and the face underneath
Is waxen with blown-out bulbs for eyes.