A Pacific Vagrant etc.

A PACIFIC VAGRANT

And so, in travel,
I made my mind treasonable in every way,
In treason to say I had eloped all those years
With sail and steam-launch from Europe’s heavy season,
Having no love of Government, master or servant,
Or the winter fields in their bloodless demeanour;
And what blue dawn, to slip cable without possession
But a chart-map drawn of childhood wonder
That has broken the windstreams of oceans where only
The savage swims; and I too have been naked
When the sun dreamed on the deck, and have known
The star courses bend towards islands
Where fish dance on the beaches in full moon;
And I have seen pale opals, silhouettes, coasts
Of broad sunrise in the comedy of their becoming,
And high above these the green of unbroken forest
Where salty children ran like scents and lights and sounds
From tree to tree. These memories I hold to
Like humming-birds over hanging blossom,
A soft laughter that swells now in my sleep

 

 

THE TRADING POST

                And the rain falls.
It nestles in wet intervals on weeds
Like a brief season of glistening eggs,
Flicking tails on iron fences, begging
In pale mud, decorating a yellow
And white umbrella with an odour
Of quiet murder.

Outside, the people are laughing
At drunks. They smoke damp cigarettes
And shout at the wheels of broken trucks;
They are tired, and their toes shine
Like the petals of a red hibiscus
As they walk the road.

By a fresh water pool
A woman is washing her clothes,
Singing,
          “wherever you will go I will go,
           wherever you lead so shall I lead,
           your people are my people
           and your God is my God too -“

           And the rain falls.
It nestles in wet intervals on weeds
Like a brief season of glistening eggs.

 

 

OLD PUTUM

                   So we sit together, watching
On the verandah of your weathered home,
After the unhewn shale of warm laughter,
Your sun-fluted expression all steamed out
In rows of torn wrinkles.

                    Turning yourself, I see it all:
The age-old Pacific rolling back without word,
The dripping raintrees that hold thick spindles
For the wheel of crows, the
Quickly winking satellites of fireflies
That flit ghosts into the short dusk,
The unremitting meditation of cicadas.
In five minutes night will fall,
The sky will fill with older ruminations,
And you will twist your brus, gently,
Rubbing slim flakes between rough fingers.

And there will be no concentration,
Only pale blue fire along the branches,
The orchids ending their dances.
On the verandah of your weathered home
A dog will be asleep in his box,
Sighing upon the bone of a dog’s dream;
And you will dream of the rotting forest,
You will bring home opossum from the hunt,
Holding its tail in sunlight.

Then I will say goodnight,
We shall part in a polite movement,
The sky will flash with a coming storm.

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