David Musgrave


from The First Partition, Anatomy of Voice


father                         froth                         forth

A voice is in the way
not like a father
or a tree across a road
but like maggots on the path

writhing in bright moistness
sweep them away
and then you are left with ends
upping and twisting in your mind

as your voice         remembered
ups and outers from itself
and into something else             no that’s not it
go around it



siren                         silence                         noise

inside a cloud
there is only cloud
but inside a voice
there is always another

a voice in search of a body
coming in from the dark
gingerly               like a cat
returning                  prodigal

a siren who is silent
is voice at its purest
creating nothing out of something
that’s the trick



myth                         mouth                         moth

I follow your voice down its path
and although its words are not
‘follow’ or ‘obey’, I follow and obey
and come into a subtle world

where the distinctions are fine
as blades of grass or leaves on trees
where firewood is not firewood
and the sun spins a web of light

through floating trees and shivering limbs
and the vine which persists through the dead ones
This is the ungarden, the maze of spring
the flowers which have their root in your voice



star                         stare                         tare

The city is silting up
with voices           incessant light
and things in leather          streets are slits
of speed                mirroring the uncity

translating stars into chatter
night into smooth panes
when the city quietens
to a sooty hum

gathers its intervals
shells the silence
in a desert of neon
darkness crowds the stars



David Musgrave teaches at the University of Newcastle and is the Publisher at Puncher & Wattmann.