new zealand electronic poetry centre


John Tranter 



The eagle who kills with lightning
idles in a palace smothered by flowers.
Of course he is never seen. The sky above is
pale green and Saharan blue, shreds and patches of it
peeping between the dark leaves...

it must be the Côte d’Azur, it must be fast cars,
idle young men inflamed by gasoline!
And when the exhaust note has faded, why,
calm returns, the last century returns, my
abandoned world returns, the world I have lost,

the life I threw away, the Juliet I neglected –
can any of that be recovered? Blue devils
topple from gliders into a pattern: parachutes,
idols, descending... history is this delicious day
over and done – old orchards: forgotten fruit.

Now the waterfront, patrolled by helicopters,
where monkeys dance, guitars pluck at the air,
children in red makeup clutch at your sleeve,
and, looking down from a secluded window
a beautiful woman dazed by magazines...

renting an exclusive suite done out
like a library, books bound in buckram, so she can
doze on a divan, nothing more useful: nothing
more ravishing than her vulnerable sleep – let us
creep and whisper! Below, a cul-de-sac choked with

expensive shops towards whose glow and glitter
her soul inclines, whose chandeliers illuminate
her heaven, whose throngs act out a million dramas
curt, cruel, and concentrated, just for her: I dwell on it –
be jealous! – and adore it in silence.

Last updated 12 October, 2003