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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).