new zealand electronic poetry centre

David Mitchell


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night through the orange window
 

(i)

Tonight
in the amber warmth
of her deeper dreaming
I will assert my seasonal self

living again
the rain and mist of her smile

so that now
in the mystery of the moment
her face
is at my delirious throat
her blind lips murmur
over my salt neck
my shoulder

so that now
in the silence
of the moment
we walk again
through that young night
and this

step by slow step
into the trembling.

 

(ii)

That night
and this
you leaned forward
your shoulder in the firelight
patterned
with the delicate bruising
of ferns

tenderness and tenderness and tenderness

your cool hand
was on my face
to still me
tender as a receding sigh
pale as the sound of your eyes closing

your slender hand
moves over my face
tastes my mouth
pauses at my throat to listen—
my blood
                its mad sport

your slender hand
moves over my face
to still me
as if you were blind

tenderness and tenderness and tenderness

your slender hand

at my eyes lip
and sheaves of bright hair
bend tiny
down all the slim meadows
of your autumn skin

your cool hand
moves over my face
to know the form of the formless
to print time into a frown
a petal of smiling
or a terror
too beautiful to speak

silence
is your cathedral.

 

(iii)

Tonight
in the vast room of this still moment
in this century
between the bell and the blue star
through the screen of shocked air
distilling voices from the street
I have you
as you really are.

Outside a star is ringing like a bell
death. day. birth. night.

I could not possess you again
save as now

you are
           the sound of heat
           in the grove
           ripening

you are
           death’s first small lily
           breathless
           come in wonder
           panting at the foothills
           of my grey face—
           And I bemused

you are
           heat from an unlit fire
           the scent of unspilt rain
           the aftersound of music
from across the black and white lake

you are—
it is nameless
what you are
unspelt

death. day. birth. night.

Outside a star is ringing like a bell
ripples of warm panic over the poor day
his giant face.
his voice is big
through
              all the heavens
calling Ulysses.

It is not that I am lonely
in the world
without you—
but that I am lonely
in you
without you

Tonight
I have you as you really are
within; without;
there are so many worlds
stacked like cards
between the bell and the blue star

who would not like the giant shout ?

 

(iv)

I remember her as a fifth season
she
who came unheralded
into those lean months
shaming the precise blue evenings
with the proud eternity of her flesh

she
who loved proudly
causing wonder and a little natural awe
who drew long cool fingers
slender and pale as dawn
over my thick face
who wandered singing
through my light head
scattering memories of the future
like burning pebbles
                                or roses

she
who caught my lips gently
between her small cold teeth
who kissed the husks from my slow eyes
so that I too might weep
for life

I remember her as a fifth season
who came unheralded
and walked in beauty.

 


ęDavid Mitchell
 


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Last updated 30 March, 2010