after W.H. Auden Staring up from a field in Pakistan, your eyes like the eyes of any child. Your face enlarged on a poster that can be seen from the edges of the human inhabitable zone on this lucky earth; and viewed again on our screens while eating or opening a window, or just walking dully along. Drones that hover their targets don’t see. I sit outside a café at an unsteady table on an uneven path, where another child, lifted high on shoulders, waves a tiny hand. There’s a seamless sky behind the weight of cherry blossom; and I’m unsure whether to share with friends the image of you—as pixels to the wind—or to simply forget and build my delicate home the way I’d like it to be.
I prefer paths worn to those laid out; the blending of grass from centre to edge by the passing of continual feet rivals the shading of Old Masters. Down these paths seed-head and flower brush calves, but don’t impede, because enough of us walk this way, descending with each unique promise. * The southern wind edges the waves moving across the bay; white lines of static flicker and vanish: a jumpy picture of turquoise-blue blotted with shadows from dampened clouds. Amidst the froth and crests of roughening seas, the birds in the distance race to a haven at the north end of Tokerau, where the sands curve behind the rocks marked with Kupe’s net. * The rain comes. It’s too much to stay exposed on the stone altar of a church, or in the circle of a henge. From the sea we must retreat. I look back at the dimpled sand; our footprints already fading. We turn into the gloom of leaf and frond, follow the path of pressed grass shimmering like a stream.
You’ll be the first who leaves this bed in a cradled rain you’ll be the centre, your actions will split the numbers you’ll turn heads in London and Berlin you’ll move with everything, since everything is what you’ll be and there’ll be no use for alibis, or poets who cannot button their shirts.
There’s an emptiness between the lines you’ll notice: an infinite space of no consolation —nothing we write is heavy enough to keep them near each stumbled phrase they’re further gone and we can only hang so long on a pause that won’t stop the expanding heavens.
after Arthur Rimbaud It doesn’t mean a thing: the pyramid eye or the constellations, not night’s scattered verse. Smoking incense, the bride’s dress, the taste of dark wine— it doesn’t mean a thing. Neither does beautiful Paris: the elegant avenues, the asphyxiating decay, the distant nausea. Only your soft pure face and the warm bed of home.
Better now we’re back from the war this room looks the same as before no one after us we’ve got all the time right here next to you so near can’t believe that now it’s clear what was has left all gone.
You’ll always be over there, my feet only oceans away my head can be anywhere— too much to ask you to stay? * We’ll always be good at talking it round but if I could I’d bring you down from on top the Ferris Wheel.
Away from voices on shore, we row into the limitless fog. Our bodies rock together: shoulders, thighs, touching —which is all we want to feel, flooding our heads. The tumid night blankets the water like an oil slick.
The sun has slid down the side of the hill, rolling past the time which signals the end of winter’s worst. And now, the best of spring we’ll receive on seats we’ve moved into position, simply lifted, without engineering. Just somewhere to sit in elevated repose, after we’ve finished levering through the day all our stones into place.
I won’t say I understand you, but I’ll try somehow to find you. Like you I’ve wasted time and I’ll contemplate some more. Because it’s never quite right, we don’t finish anything as much as the times we begin. You’re as hard as the wind.