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Bits of poetry


Spring Abstract

What if shadow
were to give birth
to shadow
and the rock
burst forth shoots

tendrils and the sky
become water
and the oceans dry
birds become fish
that fly and fire freeze
solidify and trees
descend into sand
salt taste sweet
coldness heat
without the magician's
electric hand
clay's heart might beat
but wouldn't birth
and death remain
but brothers
in defeat?

Bits of Poetry
(after Lafcadio Hearn)

Children's delighted fingers
through a paper screen that's old —
but now look how the wind comes
to blow our hearts so cold.

What point now the two
exquisite paper butterflies?
My wife now dead a year.

I untie one small corner
of the mosquito-net
and the whole moon

Rain heavy enough
on the hat I stole —
what of the scarecrow
left in the field?

No longer unhappy
at my broken window —
oh scent of the plum-tree!

Boundaries on maps
but here only flowers
and the oblivious sea.

What tells me that my friend
lies here?
A wild dove's cry
and ascending butterfly.


What word for the water reed
broken tube drawn from mud
by the magnet sun? Or river's
ale-brown water that whispers
against the sand? Spring leaves
are green explosions frozen
arched to points symmetrical
as a ballerina's arms or clouds
framed in the painter's assessing
eye. The hills are slate and lilac
smoke hazed heat mirages already
rising. The river swallows shadow
under the bridge. A one-legged
gull wavers on its grassy ridge.

Shane McCauleyShane McCauley is a Perth poet. His published poetry collections include The Chinese Feast, Deep-Sea Diver and The Butterfly Man.

Topic tags: Shane McCauley, Spring Abstract, Bits of Poetry (after Lafcadio Hearn), Riverscape



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Existing comments

Nice poems, Shane. I liked the way they kicked off with shadow's shadow. My grand daughter, 3, the other day said she was taking her shadow for a walk.

andrew burke | 30 September 2008  

Wonderful poems!

Joanna | 30 September 2008  

Exquisite - thank you.

Dr Vacy Vlazna | 30 September 2008  

You were my "Idol" as an English lecturer at Midland TAFE. Now I can enjoy your wonderful poems ... Thank you

Faye | 06 March 2009  

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