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The Spike [or Victoria University College Review 1954]

Jocelyn Henrici

Jocelyn Henrici

To J. M. on Her Nineteenth Birthday

You, simpleton,
Watching the world with wonder as it turns,
Exploring with sense fingers new textures,
Admiring the grace of falling fluting petals
Nor thinking of the death to which they fall.

You, stranger,
Living on the surface, accepting facts,
Without understanding the implications,
Seeking no inner meanings.
When will you see and think, when does the mind
Perceive through the picture the pattern?

page 70

You, chasing headlong
On to the plank bridging eternity, but looking
With nearsighted eyes into the blankness of your mind,
To find no answer to questions not yet understood;
Only knowing your aloneness, bewilderment
By adult life, ideals and actions;
Clinging to the blinding hopes of childhood,
Who, receiving the fruits desired by others,
Find them to the immature, sour.

You. too young for the age you have,
Older than all your desires,
Bon voyage, child.


Not here, not yet. Not while the turning wind
Can lift me in its arms, stroke face and hair,
And force my lips. Not when the sun's white stare
And burning mouth have left my eyes half blind.
Not here, where every scent there is can bind
My body's caverns to the sensual air,
And water clothes a flesh by wind stripped bare.
Not now, while I can still such lovers find.
But if the wind should go away from me,
Or if I could no longer bear its love;
When no pleasure be offered by the sea
Of if my body unresponsive prove,
Then let someone seek this deserted heart,
Nor will I then refuse a woman's part.


Tonight the air has cooled me to its shadow.
Where the path crosses the marshes, I can stand
And feel the night closing up its hand
Around the valley, hushing the sea sound.
Here on the marshes is no salt nor sand,
But sweetness of fresh water and pasture land.

page 71

I will walk here, until the distant stars
Draw me up with a web of frozen light
Beyond humanity to their height,
Where I shall walk as proud as the moon
Across a world silver in my sight.
I will have peace and dark content, tonight.