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Faith, apples and Peter Steele

Susan Fealy |  24 June 2013

Faith is green

'I'll settle for a sprig or two — 
The savour gracious, the leaves brimmingly green — 
as if never to say die.'

 –Peter Steele, 'Rehearsal'

Where were you?
Not in the dark car

inside that shrunken space
on its slow glide to the boneyard.
Perhaps in the white lineage
of your brothers at the altar,
or traced on your crucifix — 
your DNA, your trust.

Perhaps in the chapel glass,
the green shadow of tree,
the silhouette of wind — 
the monkey that will not leave
its back: so many times,
in the pattern, your substance
of things: the wine, the wine,
the communion bread, forever
full and aloft as the moon.

After the silver cup,
the procession,
the soft blood of roses,
the car, the cold,
the stone steps, and your white brothers — 
a force of herons or anxious angels,
pacing a spell
to portal you, or bring you back — 
perhaps in the outdoor altar, its borders,
its fathom-green.

Not in the impossible grey of the sky
resistant as God's overcoat — 
its flannel collar turned up.

Where are your sprigs of mint?
Behind the wall,
under the ground,
in the garden?
There is a tyranny
of elm,
my footsteps,
and listening
for other
audible patterns.


What memory is like

Officially, memory
is a cardboard box
sent to your home address.

But anyone who's received a memory
knows that it is also untidy
as a fledgling's wing

crystalline as crème brûlée
and sometimes as acidic
as an ant's nest undone by rain.

And sometimes as welcome
as the neighbour's dog — 
the one that meets you behind its fence
just as you reach your door.

Yet in it
is the ruby marble
you thought you'd lost
when you played for keeps.

Anyone who's received a memory knows
that you opened a window
into a tracery
of transparent wire.

Sometimes it will stain your hands.

Anyone who's received a memory
knows that its weight
is never more

than the insistent green
of an opened leaf.


Two Fujis

Its flesh is not the white of Mount Fuji;
dun-white, it breaks cleanly, juice flows
down your chin like warm, melted snow.

Its taste is not honey, nor spicy, its skin
is not starred with the secrets of insects,
nor meadow-yellow, haloed in rose

on its sunny side. This Fuji is fierce pink
wed to neon green. It started in 1930s
Fujisaki; a fusing of two American breeds,

stalled in '45 when bombs erased that city.
When its petals fall, clusters are pared to two.


Susan Fealy headshotSusan Fealy is a Melbourne-based poet and clinical psychologist. Her poems have been widely published in journals and anthologies. She is workiing towards her first full-length collection. 'What memory is likeis after Miroslav Holub''What the heart is like' and Debbie Lim's 'What the brain is like'.


Susan Fealy

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Submitted comments

wonderful poetry - concise and lyrical. I love "Memory" and "Rehearsal" best. - I wonder would you be interested in submitting to an international - intercontinental really - anthology of "family matters"?

Frank Joussen 25 June 2013

Thank you for these be beautiful poems. Much to savour!

kerry Holland 25 June 2013

Thank you so much for your lovely comments. Much appreciated.

Susan Fealy 27 June 2013

How lovely to have a memorial poem to Peter Steele just a year after his death. And the words which reverberate with connections to Peter's own poems, boneyard, overcoat, and of course the mint, Thankyou.

Gwynith Young 28 June 2013

Like the resurrection which Peter Steele hoped in so energetically, his words have, still, a way of rising and animating, as Susan and Gwynith appreciate so keenly.

John Kelly 20 September 2013

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