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Language made physical in gardens

  • 04 August 2020
Selected poems Organic molecules


Our galaxy has no point at all,

so desperation thrashes round inside me

with a barely discernible taste of earth.


The pigface and the mean coprosma,

nasturtiums in your garden, racquets in the hall,

are these many or is it one?


Body, my leather animal, thinks

we dream because we are lonely asleep:

can meaning be inherent, after all?


Assuming you don't know what you know

we parse the figures of eternity.

Since I'm the bloke who needs the out-of-doors


with our language made physical in gardens,

those marvellous pink barred clouds and angled rays

can be nothing more than merely genuine.


And poetry survives,

art hangs on the off-white wall

but memory hugs the branches against itself.                            



In their fluent passage


            Like clever, glimpsed sprinters

            across morning's pale oval of twilight

            are my guaranteed brand-new dreams

            just beyond the silvered memory bucket:

            or should I have dubbed it a fountain,

            washing those teenage ghosts away,

            all those gambles and wanhopes?

            Poor life won't give us a comfy answer


            through the leaves of our evergreen

            backyard copse.  The sun lofts again

            and grey things look just as they were:

            especially in these morning papers.

            Why on earth can't we have some archangel

            gliding in

                              to a fledgling chorus of tenors?

Chris Wallace-Crabbe is a Melbourne poet. His latest books are Rondo (London: Carcanet) and My Feet Are Hungry (Sydney: Pitt Street Poets) .Main image: (Justyn Koh/Unsplash)