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Moments after meditation

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Above, below

Like water, I surrender any time, any place
______to the songlines of the sun, and rise
______into the sky, only to plunge again.
Like water, the moon tugs me into
______flirtations of everything my waves lap
______and thread with thunder.
Like water, I conjure mist at dawn, at dusk,
______veiling and unveiling the land
______and all its diurnal broodings,
______so no one knows exactly what dreams
______approach, what missives dreams contain.
Like water, I seep into the most secret places
______and at length return with skeleton news
______of things hidden, ignored, forgotten,
______tinctures of jewels and mineral veins,
______echoes of slow-drip alabaster ornaments.
Like water, each drop of me contains all
______of me, each drop spreads itself over
______all surfaces, reflecting the shimmer-pulse
______of any seam of light, and each drop, under
______ferment of heat and pressure, custom
______of gravity, shapes itself to a sphere,
______to a tear-drop, into searing ice or steam,
______toil and comfort of snow and rain.
Like water, I flow to the lowest point, path
______of most doubt, cracking open rock,
______carving vistas, flooding plains, greening
______deserts, glossing wings and leaves.
Like water, nothing can stop me, everything
______drinks of me, everything bleeds with me.
Like water, where I am not, life is not.
Like water, where I am scattered, words and touch burst free.


Born in the Year of the Snake

Fifty years on there are still skins to shed,
Still obsessions to conquer or unwind,
The awe of final brightness far ahead.

When I was young, age seemed a distant dread,
Would never guess dull and cracked flesh to find
Fifty years on there are still skins to shed.

Each birthday, judging what was left to tread,
I would wish one hundred more, wisdom's mind,
The awe of final brightness far ahead.

Then studies, job, marriage, each duly led,
All things of art and spirit left behind —
Fifty years on there are still skins to shed.

Too late for some, I claimed a potent thread:
The sense that life should never be unsigned,
The awe of final brightness far ahead.

Now this pause, to consider things unsaid,
Unknown, how to reject those facts that bind,
Fifty years on there are still skins to shed,
The awe of final brightness far ahead.


Looking for grace

By definition it comes
When least expected. Yet we
Call for healing and vigour
When we are most unlike them,
Not knowing grace waits for us
To curse its absence, fall back
On faith, forget even that.

Then one day a host of birds
Blasts out of thick scrub, blue
Bodies, crimson wings blazing
Past blackened tree trunks, and we
Watch them crack open the sky.


Moments after meditation

Somewhere else car bombs split-screen the news
Somewhere else couples harangue vows and baggaged fears
Somewhere else children mimic fashion of what works what conceals

And here   sometime else  rifles colonise ploughs desecrate
______theodolites divide  motor pools accumulate

Here also   but now  with sun and wind circulating their blessing
______with black birds snacking in the vegie patch next door
______with one daisy nodding its petalled banner
______to no one in particular

Silence infuses skin and thought   earth and cooch grass

Much like that pause
____________a newborn's first surprise
__________________of light

Much like that link
______when lovers rock
____________their masks of touch
__________________into arch

Much like that gasp
______of last surprise
____________eyes opening
__________________a deeper hue

Our leap into all stories, all landscapes, at once


Summer walk, early

To be so close
Yet still not there —
On a path strewn

With dead leaves
No movement
But a green-gold fly

In a maze of wings
No sound
But my thoughts

On what may shift
If I wait long enough
Let breath hover

Let words disappear
Forget the path
Leading up the far slope

Be so empty
The forest opens
With revels of light

And when I breathe
I carry it with me
Leave myself there


That gift of metempsychosis

What returns us to the womb?
That chance to once more kindle
Ourselves with breath, keen desire.
Become the unravelling
Of ourselves as dilemma.
Thrill to stars, grass underfoot.
Luxuriate in the crush
Of loving, the tease of sweat,
The balm of a baby's scalp.

Outside of space-time we are
The nothing that triggers all.
Here, now, we are the one self
Amongst all others, licking
Ice-cream, timely scars, stroking
A cheek, a gun, an old dream,
Making a tomb for our sins,
Striving when we can to break
Open the skin of our fears
And embrace the rushing breath
Of creation, soon dying
To do all over again. 

Earl LivingsEarl Livings has published poetry in Australia, Britain, Canada, the USA, and Germany. He holds a PhD in creative writing and coordinates the Professional Writing and Editing course at Box Hill Institute, Victoria. He is editor of Divan, Australia's first all-Australian online poetry journal, and is working on a novel and his next poetry collection. 

Topic tags: new australian poems, Earl Livings



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Existing comments

It's difficult to decide which one of these poems I like best. I think "That Gift of Metempsychosis" wins by a short half-head.

Pam | 27 August 2012  

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