Perhaps dying isn’t hard after all


The sun slides westward.
Silvering icy seas
Warming my cold-blotched hands,
Shriving the skin of my soul.

Blue sky belying polar wind,

Green grass infertile land,
Creased smile the belch of pain:
Uncharted worlds.

Or do these steadfast, gurgling waves,
Kaleidoscopic magpie calls,
Dear friends' departing touch,
Betoken rhythms underneath

Which ear nor eye nor mind can trace,
Or even guess, but only celebrate?
Walk we this thin and silent ice
Because a pillowed master sleeps?

Peter Matheson


Into the cool precincts of night
like winged Buddha,
silent, full-moon-eyed
in the blue shadows
under the eiderdown
of a flaming coral tree,
watching the night-watchmen
with their blue-white beams,
possums rummaging in the bins.
Mopoke. Mopoke.
Rodents scurrying, brushed
off the bush rug, one by one,
as if they were brown buds.

So, I thought: perhaps dying
isn’t hard after all,
but so much softness
wrapping itself around us—
as soft as down, thick and cushiony.
Spirited away
nestled in a feathered chest
we close our eyes
against the dappled, vaulted light,
riding the high notes
beyond pain,
the strings of our sinews plucked
until our bones are clean and white.

Cassandra O'Loughlin



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