Corellas at Dunkeld
From our distance we saw the Corellas
hanging like a hospital's washing
in the tenements of a large Redgum,
and heard them crooning the scandals of the day
each blushing mildly,
cronies of the nudge and the wink,
one watchful bird rose on a whim
drawing with him a thousand companions,
and they swung boisterously up,
then broke into raucous quorums
in a vast drunken carousel,
bringing and taking tidings,
gathering and breaking apart,
seeding the skies with gossip.
And the elect among them
rose on their high sabbaticals
until they all disappeared
beyond the sneak of their horizons,
but still haunting the evening
as a migraine staggers light
at the corners of the eyes.
with all the spanish majesty of a living Caravel,
coursed by the momentum of their thinking wings,
they soared as one in their din above us
lavish with the imperium of flight,
a great hush in the thunder of their passing.
Here, the air is buffeted by kites,
the tug of carp, the blossom's kiss,
Waves of fire coil through a paralysis of storm,
and the song of the Samurai
is whetted sweetly
in arcs of chosen light.
through the night's ink,
bandy men come trotting,
with feet the size of snowflakes,
each warmed by spoonfuls of lantern light;
the breath from their paper lungs
does not disturb the pieties of smoke.
In the kindling house
tea blooms in amber steam,
fans rustle insinuations,
tinder screens slide their propriety.
Here, the tides of meticulous oceans
even the wind is content
with an exact debris of leaves.
Bellini: Lamentation over the Dead Christ
In the Uffizi,
Past miles of forgettable popes
And galleries of swooning virgins;
Past the custodian
And the craft of her cornered eye:
You may chance,
As I did,
Upon the Bellini,
By the shock of absence,
The unravelling of life into grief,
Their shyest privacies
Are spilled into the painter's eye;
And they stare into their elsewheres,
As if they were watching
What they were already remembering.
Except for one of them
Who has turned to watch
The young man at the left of the painting
Who is caught in that abysmal moment
Before weeping can begin,
That grief itself,
Might in a kinder eye,
Become an act in love
A poem for Agnes Bojaxhiu
Recently published letters have revealed that although
Mother Teresa of Calcutta spent many years
In her inspiring ministry, she felt, during much
0f that time, a profound spiritual emptiness.
At each day's end
You shawled the night about you
Gathering in the cold,
And rehearsed again
Your most private agonies,
As if your turn of phrase
Might stir a holy grammar,
Might persuade the silence to speak.
But by day,
With the sureness of one who might attend upon a prince
You washed the disgrace from their bodies,
Eked out from them the blessing of their names,
And restored life
To those whose lives were ending.
You longed to bring the touch of your unaccountable faith
To those pressed by municipal indifference
Into the crannies of a slum,
To bring your presence,
to those whose last capacity was to wait.
And so you would child your sorrow
Through Calcutta Streets,
Eyes fixed at the height of a beggar's hand,
Until each day revealed itself
As a scrubbed infant,
Face shining like a holiday.