Prayer at the scarred tree
Ever have those moments
When you wish there was someone with you
And there's not?
Nothing but your cold lonely self
Which you re-enter like a reluctant astronaut.
I want to cry out,
Fill me however you will,
Just fill me.
This hunger that gnaws endlessly in my guts
Will be the death of me
But is the life of me,
Because in braving yourself to the emptiness
Something is born
Watch and observe,
Tell the story well,
Make it an expression of your sanity,
Which is otherwise at risk
From waves generated by the outside world
And past regrets.
Again and again, only pen and paper between me
And an awful emptiness.
And so I must stand and wait for the words to appear,
And, when they do, receive them
Like a grateful fisherman receives the gifts of the sea.
I must believe what I say:
That is the greatest test.
Give me wisdom,
Give me strength.
— Martin Flanagan
A place I've never been
'Each moment is a place
you've never been.' — Mark Strand
So I find myself
always in the throes of arrival
and of departure,
always in the known
and the unknown,
and falling asleep,
always clothed and naked,
always holding on to
and letting go,
with the presence of body,
with the illusion of familiarity.
Again, the snow is falling
and the magnolia's petals
will turn brown and fall.
Our home of three years
is emptying, returning to
the shell of itself,
effacing us from every
room, our voices, our
noise, our clutter,
and we, all five of us,
are in the throes of departure
and of arrival,
where we are,
where we've never been.
— David Adès
Hearing the call
I heard the call from a great distance,
puncturing silence, puncturing restraint,
felt it as knowledge, a psychic cry
bouncing off the ether with pinpoint accuracy,
reaching me in a hotel in Konya at breakfast,
breaching thought like a whirling dervish,
the sonic vibration of a tether between us,
umbilical, a call borne of extremity,
a call heard neither before or since.
I heard the call and answered
from a great distance, but didn't heed it,
didn't change direction,
and though in all the years left us
we never spoke of it,
you never said a word,
my astonishment grew and grew,
that you called out like this,
that you found me, that I heard you.
— David Adès
Martin Flanagan is a journalist and author who writes on sport, Australian culture and the relationship between indigenous and non-indigenous Australia.
David Adès is the author of Mapping the World and the chapbook Only the Questions Are Eternal. His latest book, Afloat in Light, is forthcoming in May 2017 from UWA Publishing. His poems have been widely published.