Death by tiger

1 Comment

Grandmoth (a translation)
The moth has hung itself among the portraits,
A Magrittean body-as-face.

With the frontal eyes of a predator it waits;
a cat outside a birdcage.

When I opened the jewel-box it fled in fear —
though it was the fear of an outriding scout,

his nation's might but a day's march behind;
his paltry mouthful of felt — good as glory.

I take out her necklace, a museum piece
for looking never wearing. For authenticity,

false memories fade like real ones.
I put it back and close the box, worn out

by looking up through week-old eyes
at my grandmother looking down.

Progress report
We are weak by the minute, strong by the year;
there's no precise way to judge our worthiness
as subjects — objects — sobjects! — in love; mere
bad weather can reduce us, as our impermanence
can rouse us to endure. We tried co-hibernation,
consuming only time; emerging topple-boned,
our big smash-mouth love was like a bear's swipe:
surprisingly precise. How did we refrain from
eating each other, when loosed from the black's die,
the one self-scent? . . . Next model: co-moderation.
We'll ration the bread we are to each other,
to outlast every war pent up in human nature. . . .

indentNo matter how we persist,
love's a lever. We lower when we want to lift.

The tiger, ending with a quote from FoxNews
Ye shall be slain all the sort of you; yea, as a tottering wall shall
ye be, and like a broken hedge. Psalm 62

Yearly you shrunk, paced; after inexplicable wait
you leapt the 8 ft moat and 12 ft wall

on wings presumed by the will to flight,
landing self-cleaned and bristling light

into a strange world of shrubbery for fencing:
man's maladaptive fear of seeing.

At last you saw around the corner
to the kiosk, to the music that had terrorised:

nothing, now in view. The teenage boy,
drunk, taunting, now hanging from

your latch of jaw, was wilder than you,
if wildness be the undeliberated life.

whether the escape was the result of a deliberate act —
police said they've not ruled anything out

Portrait of a family man with a portrait of his father
With a coinly profile, burnished as close to self-love
as punctilio permits, the man sits. In one hand

a manichaean cane at rest, in the other a picture
shown to his family: his mother and son seated,

his wife standing clasping the boy's head against her
crotch, steely aiming him at his grandfather's portrait.

His son stares down at his lap in small, eternal defiance;
his wife looks past the framed fiat of the in-law,

meeting her husband's eye with rancour's residuum,
always a day stale. (Leftovers of the carnal Know;

the all-wise illiteracy of smell.) Only his mother
observes her husband biddably; his pure

white chops and hair conspiring to the air of a rabbit,
soft and unwitting in the red right hand of son.

A version of In praise of distance
In the waters of your eyes
are the fishermen's nets full of mad-sea.
In the river-roots of your eyes
the sea's undertaking.

As a heart that moved among whole men,
I strip off my clothes, the patina of an oath:

blacker in black, I'm barer now. Apostate, only true.
Whenever I am, I am you!

In the cataracts of your eyes
I wade and dream of paw-stunned salmon.

The net catches net:
always our embraces pre-halved.

In the Quell of your eyes
a man strangles the rope as he hangs.

Lucy HoltL.K. Holt is a Melbourne-based writer. Her first full-length collection of poetry, Man Wolf Man, was published in 2007 by John Leonard Press.

Topic tags: New Australian poems, L. K. Holt, Grandmoth, Progress report, tiger, FoxNews, Portrait of a family man



submit a comment

Existing comments

thanks to the poet - lovely, lovely stuff

brian davies | 26 September 2009  

Similar Articles

Cannibal convict's tour of hell

  • Tim Kroenert
  • 24 September 2009

The first feature film about Australia's most notorious convict shares a potent symbiosis with Dante's Inferno. Director Jonathan auf der Heide believes there is a repressed need for violence beneath the 'veil' of human civilisation.


MasterChef winner roasts the media

  • Tim Kroenert
  • 17 September 2009

Addressing members of the Australasian Catholic Press Association, MasterChef winner and Catholic Julie Goodwin decried the vicious and personal nature of some online forums, and the so-called journalists who draw upon them for articles.



Subscribe for more stories like this.

Free sign-up