Friday, May 01, 2009

they were not friendly birds


(after cronin after rumi)


searching for forms and plans to run out the words
trail the hand and the hand's pen
that seems today to trek over sand towards
somewhere, maybe it's a place with water
or more sand, in this place caught, in a desert
with only the heat burning up from the feet and down
from the head until the hand is all that's left
holding a pencil that trills like a rainbird
or wails curlew into the deep end and dark
when the hand with a pencil or a pen is awake
is around and is present and the other hand holds
some unlit thing, waits for a turn, for some focus
because the hand is moving too fast to stop
even for seconds and the lighter or light is lost


in a later frame is a future, a delayed gratification
and it's better to finish this movement through sand first
wanting to speak without a mouth, wanting to reach facts
to push dreams, in a small room, an insistent hum that surrounds
reminds outside is what overwhelms perceptions, not this
comforting beat where one hand is praying, is caressing
all that's not known and tender is praying the other's heart
with the lightness of each fall, each adam and his eve
in each first garden clutching the only thing worth taking
and each desire, uncompromised by threat, the hand takes
and moves in this slowed path, finds a light shifting
the placeless, signs blur or sea mist or fog or caress
in shoals in a valley or high on a mountain top and the hand
believes this is all worth knowing, a valley a desert a sea


the hand not sharing absolutely all the facts, and the facts
are in buildings, or forest groves or out at the edges of pages
only not this hand and not this story where forms are like birds
and they are crowding and pushing hard at the silence praying
in a small room, with a large door and outside is a future
wanting to take all this back into itself, and the hand moves
on using whatever history, whatever the past says now

3 Comments:

Anonymous sorry, said...

See this is a problem. I promised myself I wouldn't comment for at least a week but that poem is so gorgeously beautiful. Have you seen rock art in Kakadu, I bet you have seen many things like that up there. What a beautiful long slow poem that is. And the title made me think of Robert Adamson so it exists so perfectly in a tradition. Which is something I like. Continuity and so forth. Standing ovation, a truly great work.

1/5/09 19:35  
Blogger Louise said...

thanks for yr kind words paul.

i have indeed seen many things including some rock art when i lived and moved around the northern lands of qld, northern territory and western oz - such wonderful countries...

this poem uses as its precursor work the wonderful long poem 'mischief-birds' from MTC Cronin's 'Bestseller' and she uses this quote from Jelaluddin Rumi...

'The rooster of lust, the peacock of wanting / to be famous, the crow of ownership, and the duck / of urgency, kill them and revive them / in another form, changed and harmless.'

i find that reading an entire book of poetry i one sitting, poetry that i don't always comprehend in its entirety at first, but poetry that engages me with many questions or images or adventurous thoughts - when reading it and then 'disgorging' it immediately after - i find i can often understand or mistranslate it with my own interests and process.

i guess reading other poets is essential and doesn't always mean that i'll be influenced by them, but with this one (and more like it) i'm aiming to travel with other poets along a different path, but the same path (if you get my drift).

2/5/09 11:39  
Anonymous paul said...

Drift. It's a lovely word on a Sunday. There is this calmness and composure inside your poetry. It is not striving to over achieve. It doesn't seem to be searching, exists inside itself but still looks out. This point of stability, perhaps the result of zenning out in your landscape, cultural and physical, or perhaps a sign of maturity as a poet, is a great part of where the beauty is, Ms Waller. Happy Sunday,

3/5/09 13:04  

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