Topography

65056_10152260856108242_861641856_n

…rediscovering, room by room, what it was that I first learned there about how high, how wide the world is, how one space opens into another…

(David Malouf, 12 Edmondstone Street)

How many of my dreams go to this place?
Always the same Queenslander balconies
where I wander over those drooping eaves
in search of silent, sleeping days of grace.
What do I find there? Memory’s faint trace,
nestled somewhere in the comfort of leaves,
world always higher than my gaze believes.
I must look up always to see Your face,
so dreams look up: to canopy, to farm
atop a hill, a volcanic red dome…
When I return here with my wife, we find
the colours that I know, the trilling sound
of butcherbird above our heads, yet mind
always says, “Climb up. This is still not the ground.”

Imago: For David Malouf

Who knows by what mysterious means the body moves to its ends?
(David Malouf, An Imaginary Life)

Half right, Ovid: we metamorphose, yet
Not so wildly. There are leaps which we may
Never take, gates which bar the backwards way.
Infinitesimal, our movements, but breath
Charges with possibility each step.
We perish like beasts, to the same dust as they;
Yet chasms stand between us. We contain
More than flesh, though spirit’s shackled by debt.
Is this our freedom: that in dying we fly?
Or that we throw off the deadweight of skins?
Such thoughts become not poetry, Ovid.
Look to the kernel, dying in a field;
The body will know healing from these sins,
Glorious, in the twinkling of an eye.