new zealand electronic poetry centre


Graham Lindsay

online works

Residence in silence

The wind crosses the plain
bending the grass which gleams.

The wind reaches the city
on the coast, hurdles

corrugated-iron fences, trapezoidal
decramastic roofs, grates itself

on summitstone walls.
No ideas

but in the silence of things.
We are dumbfounded by our speech

alive to language
dead to the world.

The literature mooted was not some
jerk-off nationalism

but a homecoming to things.
And of course the word is an eye

hence clarity. Matter awoke
began to be aware of itself

to struggle to name feeling.
We are matter articulated

articulate matter. Small wonder
we want to celebrate

and give voice to our kin
resident in the silence

we left behind. Who bore us up
as the small

fountains of the raindrops
are borne on the face of the waters.

As the man said
seeing comes before writing.  
Seeing, as another poet put it
is the simple intuition of existence

of one's own existence
of the existence of things

which doesn't occur in words
but springs into the mind.

You find yourself trying to fit words
to the model in mind.

The wind floods across the plain
combing the grass which gleams

sun and blue sky in its hair
and dances round a clothesline as though

each blade were a child
the clothesline a maypole.


Graham Lindsay

Last updated 15 July, 2004