new zealand electronic poetry centre


 Capital of  the minimal
B i l l  S e w e l l

from Wheels Within Wheels


a dip in the river
running with the essence
of so many poppies
and the wildest tales
may be told –

total immersion
and nothing but a bird
floating over the waters
with no report to make
not even the dark hints
of reefs & cities underneath

the earth & sky
in a clinch so tight
that the stooping sons
have to burst them apart
so far there is an age
between their intimacies –

immersion up to the neck
and the rumours begin
with a ship blown off course
further than man has been before:
new shores strange sounds
and every conceivable beast

or fished out of the sea
immaculate ready-made
shaking water off the hills:
if the facts elude us
we peer over the horizon –

partial immersion
and the rules of the dance
must be learned by heart
and the names of the men
who’ve performed it

who begat whom
the washing of hands
and the avoidance
of that stretch of shore
then now & always
without any question –

a paddle only
and all is shifted routinely
into the whispering galleries
and the half-light
there if only we knew

how to work the system:
every sensation
and every word that was said
on that Monday in March –
but the water’s moved on
and already our feet are numb.

[from WWW, UOOP 1983]


© The Estate of Bill Sewell 2004


Last updated 10 July, 2004