A selection of shorter poems from ATG (A Temporary Grace), SST (Such Sweet Thunder) and ADP (A Dwelling Place) is reproduced below.
Somnambulist of the frittering days,
Largesse of spirit dumped,
Full house of the gleaming nightmares
What mysteries are borne
On this hot circuit,
Then drying up the dams behind your eyes.
For all these sheeted ramblings
A hired fool performs,
But when the acid sky
Pits each bedroom's inner springs
Your soul is studded bloodily
And melancholy fills the fierce horizon.
Here a king and queen
Stand in swirls of wheat,
Their Magna Carta setting down
A sunset clause extended,
Containing sure decay.
They order tax, obedience:
Consume, be silent, die.
And we obey,
Even though a cataclysm
Barges the heart
And a passionate retrospect
Tells us something important came
Between the sperm and flame.
Sitting up in a sweat,
It's morning, and the air scorches.
Translated into Korean by Hanyong Jeong
Viewing 2002, 150-153 ISBN 89-88151-30-5
May I Have This Dance?Time, that is swifter than an acid burn,
Mustier than old photographs,
Jams in your blood its ambition,
Is never tired, doesn't need
The supermarket queue, carries on regardless
When mouths scream for mercy, is kind
At the end in the terminal ward,
Cares not at all for your fear
Of the plot in the yard of grave hopes,
Knows of blue skies above
And red flowers below, preferring
The grey sheet of sleep.
Time has roared
At people pussyfooting, gets annoyed
At those over fifty, parties and children,
But has to put up with them;
When all's said and done
Its temperament is quite placid.
It likes a nice tulle gown
When dancing through the ink
Of stars, but gets bored
By pyramids, pop stars and priests
Lathers our thoughts.
Time is a spoiled brat,
Eating bruised bananas,
Enjoying late night television,
Wearing false eyelashes,
Is anything but like
These wrinkles and grey hairs,
And cultivated groan
Cindering in an instant
If time decides to waltz with you.
What's this? A hand extended!
May I have this dance?
Up cracked sides,
Gripping splitting rope,
Top an expanse,
Hoping we'll lap
A salt lick treasury source,
From love bite merchants
Who whisper Look down from below,
Churning sea's greenback flack
Teething on rocks, waiting for fresh meat.
Swinging in the wind
I hear the cry of a foetus,
The shriek of an octogenarian
Climb on dear friend
(My double gives me a chin up).
Then, fingernails bitten to stumps,
I flop on the perilous top.
Rising from black vertigo,
Blood leaking, cartilage torn,
I stand and see before me
Graffiti scorched on basalt:
I am I am I am,
A white flag on the horizon.
Confused In The PacificHaka or haiku
We're learning to tell the difference.
On Children Going To Sleep
The lion's claw retracts, and stars glint
Near smiling eyes that free
Our hippodrome of grief to levels of giraffes,
Away, far away, from life
Whose gifts we seek.
Here a mercy grows
On profiles fading into sleep,
Requisites of love
Putting python in a cage,
Orang-utan at ease.
Clouds baptise, harbour diamonds
Heaped beside these shapes,
Bent beneath a branch,
Time hanging on a loop
Of human mystery.
Now eucalyptus effervesces
As slow coils of sea
Arch overhead at midnight,
A dreaming, green aquarium
Floating over jumping sheep.
Soon animals crouch round their bed
As joy brings peace and strength,
Then all that childish good enfolds
Our witnessing with leaves of gold
Until this room, by them, is blessed.
Promotional flyer for launch of A Temporary Grace,
Pentimento Bookshop, Balmain August 28, 1991
Mash-up lines and stanzas excerpted from poems
Moon, appreciative satellite,