new zealand electronic poetry centre


 Capital of  the minimal
I a i n   L o n i e

Two Nocturnes

1             Dispossession: staccato

Waiting for sleep at night
my son hears
one pair of feet only
padding down the stairs:
the sound of a door opened
springs creaking in a chair
the rustling of paper
a sound that might be a cough Ė
not repeated Ė hard to tell
but certainly not laughter
nor anything thatís shared;
the click of a single cup
set back on its saucer
the muffled scratch and whine
of the hi-fi set, and after
feet again on the stairs
unaccompanied by voices
to fold him from his fears.
My son, whom I call mine
meaning no-one elseís
what can he think it is
that silence filling the dark
beyond the dark thatís his?

2            Possession
: legato

It is not all unpleasant, waiting for
the time to pass until itís time to go
to bed: no, really not at all
unpleasant, with the lamplight shining on
the golden Turkish rug and table piled
with brightly covered books and coffee cup
and clock that ticks so soothing from the wall
and fire that flickers and the brass that winks Ė

and oh itís pleasant, seeing that oneís got
the room the way one wanted it: I mean
like a poetís or a scholarís, like those rooms
oneís seen so often from the street: the white
sofa with no-one denting it, the script
anonymous upon the paper in the pool
of lamplight and the door behind thatís just
swung to upon a life that still goes on
somewhere beyond it: scented, rich and warm
giving and taking in glad certainty
of fullness being there for ever
felicities of view are simply signs
that somethingís been displaced, as feeling well
may simply mean the fever will be soon
and serious, and so itís always time
to get up and go when finally youíve got
things just as right as that: yes:
                                                 get up and go
and leave the room you left some time ago.

[TETP, McIndoe, 1986]   

© The Estate of Iain Lonie 2004


Last updated 11 July, 2004