The last of this red hour
In the space we inhabit one burnished afternoon, we sip a taste of silence from an autumn of silences: faithful and bright, full of images and words like skeletons of powder hulks with crowns of mangrove hair. As the golden hour blooms, tinged with aubergine, a shiver along the water-glass almost breaks our spell. Each step is incantation: a stilt, a turn, a black swan pair paddle poetry, dreams. When the chorus warms —arpeggios for the show— of ‘word bells’ and wattle-birds who know the pace of poem-time who know the promise of afternoon lines — the ripple of this light — we fix to stay forever; feather our minds with baubles against a northern wall; suspend our home across a watercourse catch forgotten lines / ‘break the skin on the pool of ourselves’ every sounding afternoon. As the orchid sky flies over, we scribble birds whispered words in a tesserae of light; that knows the pace of poem-time that knows the promise of afternoon lines; in the last of this red hour in this cathedral of song.
‘an autumn of’, ‘silences’ are from Denise Levertov's “Everything that Acts is Actual”, Here and Now (1957); ‘powder hulks’ refers to the shipwrecks at Sydney's Homebush Bay; ‘word bells' is from Patricia McCarthy's sequence, “Word Bells. From Rilke’s Letters”, AGENDA Vol 42. Nos. 3-4, Spring, A Reconsideration of Rainer Maria Rilke (2007: 195-204); ‘break the skin on the pool/of ourselves’ is from Seamus Heaney's, “Feeling into Words” Preoccupations: Selected Prose, 1968-1978 (1980: 47).
Feature image via 'Art Collection - The Metropolitan Museum of Art'