new zealand electronic poetry centre

C I L L A   M c Q U E E N



been here in arms, fresh linen,
before snow’s aery characters
illuminated, drifting
down darkness beyond a window
here before -
tell past to know time present
past familiar, dawn cloud lifting
from a dreaming mountain.
Hold the image against meeting,
knowing time and place
coincidence, gaudeamus
in the next dimension,
life history, manifold instant
of a given point.
At this juncture,
memory scrolling time, I
who I am drill like a bookworm
leaves tunnels perfectly aligned leaves
as a closed book,
memory keeping
portholes in cliff emplacement  
blast chamber tunnels, open to shock,
delight; in arms, fresh linen held up
secure, newborn
in fresh white sleeves
and this remember not
but have been told she said
she has been here before
and shown at last
snow’s aery characters
white on black,
on dark ground, white words
and white ground dark words:
"Writing was most astonishing to them; they cannot conceive how it is possible
for any mortal to express the conceptions of his mind in such black characters
upon white paper." (Martin, 1716, of the inhabitants of St Kilda)



Diesel sounds aromatic
magenta, oxblood,
mineral smooth
any how as boronia

swivel that levers
a shoepolish lid,
key curls oily metal.
Poetry takes you apart,

puts you back different
as this day's passage
on shapeshifting water,
one to another island

swift as the stroke
of a pen the toothed strait
on the whale's path
chewed through, islets

scattered between,
text in motion
gimballed on muscling
swells, word-ware, cargo.

Bluff, April 2006

Last updated 9 May, 2006