After the lassitudes of blue
the sun: now buttermilk,
about to slip below the chipped and crenellated grime,
those shades of pink that bless and surely must amaze,
much longer. The world is swaddled now in undertones,
to all that is mysterious and temptingly unknowable.
maybe as a labyrinth or maze, as forest or lantana stand
that would have another tangled name.
Might belief be a word for something else, perhaps intuition,
It passes by, you turn but nothing’s there except, perhaps,
of a distant world, the glint in an oceanic vent.
and coming back breath is an unremitting currency:
or momentarily make transparent domes
in all this visibility. How to make matter miraculous again,
Such commingling could be eternity, a beyond beyond all seeing
in pettifogging words. When day grows dark and unintended
it admits of hidden roots, sap which rises,
even the whole tree that falls unnoticed.
Impossible to think ‘black’ or ‘blank’. To
think any thing
blank state waiting to be filled. Light is sifted through the
saying now, now, ‘you’, an insect on a lake, a moth on
the merest touch. You open your mouth to cry and a bird flies out.
drop like stones. The sea responds with holes. If this is it,
what is not cannot be. Hold my hand. We are strange uncertain
until a landscape intervenes. We shrink against the hills,
our voices drowning in this curious light.
It comes from over there
Sometimes it’s over there, this grinding as if thought is
Time to think. The vines that trailed the sandstone of the gorge,
Speak. Get it off your chest. The three blankets too warm
Binocular eyes. Opposable thumb. See what I can do. Focus. Pinch.
It all comes back. Like a great plane landing. A rush of sound that
Your eyes are bee’s wings, your voice, that reasonable tread,
but it comes out wrong. A curtain opens. The lights are on then
You don’t think you’ve written this. The voice belongs to
I face the sun, feel him at my heels, the aimless twin, walk,
The road is a single note, a drone between incandescent and dim.
Perhaps the first thing I notice
is the sound of pages being turned.
The second thing I notice is the way the paper is impressed, the
I notice eyelids. Visible because the gaze is on the intersection
Eight rows across, sixteen down the length. Walls a lemon-textured
Now someone stretches her arms above her head, rotates her torso
Something about the silence is amiss. Yes, every cough or crack or
I think of a scriptorium but the analogy is wrong. I think of mass
Schoolgirls taking an exam, an olive grove, a graveyard, an aviary
I notice every other pen is soaking up the ink so letters disappear
Twelve moons shine brightly as before but a hundred doves have
Brook Emery has published three poetry collections, and dug my fingers in the sand (FIP 2000), which won the Queensland Premier’s Prize, Misplaced Heart (FIP 2003), and Uncommon Light (FIP 2007). All three were short-listed for the NSW Premier’s Prize. Individual poems have won the Newcastle Poetry Prize, The Bruce Dawe National Poetry Prize, the Max Harris Award, and the Australian Sports Poetry Award. He lives in Sydney.