God understands more

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            (for Peter Porter at eighty)
            I now recall
            that nor-west corner
            in thick heat, and
            stumping along above
            the Carmine
            by a tread-road's
            unhurried winding
            and some lazy lizards
            doing a late scuttle
            just as I
            presumably came
            to his near-piazza,
            one reno-villa
            sprawled below me;
         another leftward, higher, solid
         with flame-pink
         cyclamens nestled
         in that umbrageous dark,
         like historical truth
         or the destinies
         he was painfully
         trying there
         to unravel.

The dream injunctions 

           'I want to drive along thin, lost roads.'

The hand has its firm grip on the fist.
He who ties a knot around his thumb has other knots up his
            sleeve, for himself.
I meant this May but appeared to say, dismay.
The police think you can eat French bread without salt.
What a funny way to spell Chekhov, asking him to magnificently
There are no coyotes east of Boston.
My head is full of books in the dialect of Ouch.
All people fall into one or another of three categories.
The Stendhalians have also buried theirs.
Take the keys and hide them somewhere safe in the car.
Being asleep with glasses on, you might bite your tongue.
It will be alright, Leavis is one of the passengers.
You can't get up by canvas: it's all a matter of glitz.
One can say, not tonight, pineapple.
It all takes place because of some geological fault.
I think God understands more things than he is given credit for.

You, Wallace Stevens

    'Life's nonsense pierces us with strange relation.'

After the flim-flam and that hullabaloo
When Doubtful slouches past the lagunaria
To scratch out moments of ascendancy

Or peace, the butcher's curse, like precedence,
He wishes he could sip an iced kachang
Under some academic's pergola.

Could it have been that warping dominie
Proclaiming tariffs over subsidies?
No, it must have been the daggy worse

And so to pillows. Or the pillow-book,
Something oriental for the clavichord,
Setting blue thongs down by the pool

Where orange carp dawdle. Ole. Ole.
But who is garnering shillings for the icecap
Which might be on the fatal downward slope?

Your polar bear will never scan these lines,
Nor metaphysical orang-utan;
Our fiery weather spirits them away

With dolorous drip and fatal forest-falls
While we lounge, reading their anatomies
In bronze Novembers near Apollo Bay.

For so retentive of their feral selves
Are men, that Doubtful puts his doubt to bed
With lazy glances at the fiscal news.

Chekhov days

But it's all as though
they're stuck there, in either
Castlemaine or Benalla
waiting for grants to come through from Ozco
and there's no remaining postman
or else the highway is cut
by those recent floods.

They swap despairs
or turn them into failure
with every turn and variation
while the gravel back road
remains more or less open for them
but only leads to Beckett

by way of Nine Mile Creek.
One of them has a gun.

But, mate, what a pack of wankers!
None of them will ever
pull the proverbial finger out
being ready
to do an honest job for once —
except for the doctors, maybe,
but let's face it,
that has the be the case because
the author himself was in that line of business
and you don't shit in your own nest.

Mind you,
apart from all falling in love
with inappropriate objects,
they're quite a witty lot,

so he should have hired a train,
packed them all off to Moscow
and subdivided.

Chris Wallace-CrabbeChris Wallace-Crabbe chairs the newly-established Poetry Australia Limited. His New & Selected Poems is forthcoming from Carcanet Oxford Poets. He still plays tennis. 

Topic tags: Chris Wallace-Crabbe, Bellosguardo, Peter Porter, The dream injunctions, You, Wallace Stevens, Chekhov



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Thanks for the joy of reading poems.
alex | 18 January 2011


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