new zealand electronic poetry centre


Michele Leggott

Fugacity 05
Online Poetry Anthology


bay & moon, hill & sun

who would want to be doing this?
making a paper boat
for sailing to the hereafter
I cannot bear the pain
as if it’s yesterday descending
the steps with morning sun
throwing long shadows
ahead of this procession
coming or going from its
festival     who can tell
what’s in store for us tonight
or any time the hills lean
down inviolate wings?
who knows why
the dolphins have come
to the bay this morning
are they feeding or playing
or waiting for a boat to put out
and travel with them to
or from the island?
its sails are black against the dawn
its sails are white in the marketplace
where we are bargaining
for the beginning
and without knowledge
of the painter’s delphic eye
drinking down the sea at noon
making the sun run backwards
along the crater rim
to a little knot of people
gathered on the beach
holding out their hands
for love falling out of the sky

touching the ears we go
into and out of our time
trying yes to reconcile
how it was with what has come
and taken us somewhere Else
the moon’s the same
coming in closer than before
as if to say look I am your
consolation though I never knew
how much you cared
and I can’t know how it feels
to lose what I never had
do you understand?
I’m not here because
I was your hallucination
it makes me weep to see
you cry and I want to say
please open your eyes
and take your fingers
out of your beautiful ears
I was going my own way
deeper and deeper into space
but now we must talk again
please listen
please lift up your beautiful head
I’m waiting for you catechumens
just outside the window

sun in Aries monarchs sailing
in blue air
wingprints like blossom
or leaves on the ground
in front of the iron gate
an egg, an echo
riro on the hill leading
the grass ghosts
who are everywhere now
that we are listening
and here they come
two kids with a camera
by the obelisk
wanting a photograph
hand in hand
and a long way off
the sound of someone
breathing as if every breath
is a memento
Easter moon frangipani
lifting out of the ocean
how could we have known?
wingprints blossom leaves
riro ghost the sound
of years running backwards
and forwards over the grass
against the blue air
and the inexorable weave
Easter moon white ginger
sun in Aries we stop swimming

flutes and bells
in the dark garden
and above it
passiflora making her way
across the sky
low whistles and white shells
touching the ears as we go
past the ghosts of ourselves
who have been here  
who will go with her now
as she climbs molo molo
into the sky
O Easterners day by day
we are drawn
to your opulent diary
the cabbage trees tika tika tika
the grass that says only
break one string
and ten thousand things
will replace it
bells and flutes and drums
on the seaward side above
the place my children called Paradise
morning sun
and the boy who roars
swimming along the beach
I don’t see him
but I know he’s there
the whole neighbourhood
hears him and knows
he’s singing
hello and goodbye

Auckland-Christchurch, March-April 2005

Last updated 13 May, 2005