Hydrangea Blues

Like a riot of careless children,
the hydrangeas return to my garden.
They love the violence of the wind,
they dare it to unfurl them from the stamen,
to become a sail of pure disarrangement.
Audacious,
they out-do the infinite hues of the sky,
they out-sing the clouds.
And they are beautiful and full of hungers,
and they have forgotten the agony
of last summer’s drought.
And I am in love with their petulant hearts.

Night Poem V

The night brings its own openings,
its own fissures of chance,
to those initiated in its bittersweet fruits.
On a bridge strung from dark star to dark star,

youth blooms from the icy flow,
and I am thrust from my memories,
and I am shown the beginning of my life.
And trembling,

I am filled with the beauty of
what is to come,
and the immensity of my soul.
The galaxies full of sadness,

that until now waited,
embrace me like a comrade,
while the night sings in a riot of stones below.
And I am now the sensation

no one could describe,
and I am equipped for my life
with a blindfold of journeys,
and I wear a robe of mountains.

The Tiger

I was magnificent,
the perfected mane
of a dark and menacing wind,
a fierce love that
stalked in the tall blades.
Nothing was more perfect
than my hunt,
the prey that fell to me,
like devoured kingdoms.
And though I killed,
I bore no grudges,
because in me
the recurring seasons of blood,
returned,
in me all striving remembered itself,
and life attained its
burning form.

Tigers in a Circus

Under the glaring lights
of the big parade tent
the tigers seem larger than life,
arranged on pedestals
like giant wind-up toys.

And some growl
beneath white-plumed chests,
and some gaze off, that way,
bored by the arrogant tamer’s antics
for the popcorn munching crowds.

A crack of the whip
and one tiger rears up on hind legs,
makes a praying gesture,
while little boys in sailor suits hiss
as a tigress leaps,
through her flaming hoop.

The kaleidoscopic pageantry
of sparks of orange and black,
the white of bared teeth,
the amber of sullen, ferocious eyes,
revolving round the black figure’s
outstretched arms,
as though he held a
captured fear by its strings.

But suddenly, one breaks ranks
and lunges, swipes,
roars the untranslatable rage,
and in a split second the whip
cracks down.
The unspoken, wished-for thing
flashes on the watchers’ faces

like a gasp,
and a little girl,
clutching cotton candy,
buries her face in her mother’s blouse,
terrified by this freedom
made to dance for
these tamed souls.

The Taste of Spring

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From up here,
on my hill,
I see the white caps
of the harbour
stumbling in the morning light.
Their impetuous play
carries new anticipation.
They too fall upon the shore
in love.
In the vigorous wind
that bowls through the suburbs,
precariously tilted
over Wellington,
I witness the
gleeful annihilation of
clothes lines,
and the scent of the
wild spring
buffets my heart.

My Lady the Moon

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She has everything now,
up there.
And when she turns to me,
as if to say
there is no one else you could love,
her regard bores through
these hands I raise
to show I am nothing
but a receptacle of her night.
She has confiscated all of these,
my affairs,
my days used up with love.
Afflicted by a burning chest of solitude,
in the month of her fiercest song,
I sit atop the highest hill,
far above a town full of
sleeping dogs,
of waiting bells,
drunk and full of ache
with a wind-devoured bone,
I try to patch things up
with my lady the moon.

Savage Night (Owl Song)

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Listen, that one voice
translating the night.
Suddenly, I too speak
from the owl’s dark mouth,
the way the night
speaks through holes
the trees bore into the stars,
those sky wounds.
A single voice, a lament of wings,
the lament that soars with dreams.
I had thought my life
like an impenetrable hour,
a warm stone held
in the palm of my silent heart,
until the owl came
to cry beyond my window,
that messenger,
crying the savage night.

Fierce

Fierce white feet,
paddling harder and harder
going nowhere
on the bristling waves,
somersault of light,
a foam of dolphins
drenched their glistening fears.

Player piano and the
drowned musician,
mazurkas of the forbidden heart,
it killed us with a bowl of fruit,
a single pineapple that
reached the shore.

Round and round in circles,
fierce little feet,
their widening wake,
carrying the laughter of
their skin.
I thought of spiders and seabirds,
things that never dreamed of death,
or burst pipes,
or a broken coast.

And the children trailed their toes
and combed the sea’s green hair.
She shuddered at their touch,
she welcomed their kisses,
and the paper boats that ignited
beneath a flaming feather in the sky.

A Dozen

A dozen tiny children
squatting on the rocks,
crabs in pools,
wind collapsing seaward.
Children of a crueler world
pulling off the ocean’s legs.

A dozen sea birds
angry in the sky,
Stuka bombing
the silent fish and chip hordes.
The wind returns across the surf,
holding the hand
of a dead fisherman.

A dozen memories of you,
seaweed on the sand,
you waded here,
stones between your thighs.
The seagulls were happier then,
the children kind,
the crabs still had their claws.