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You are not alone


Sparks outlasting the fire, music
burns the ceiling – a person could
shout for help, not wanting
to be heard, or whisper a truth
in some unknown ear:
this flammable sound would hail him
carelessly as a liar. The crisp crowd
understands there is no need
for risks, no unquenchable pyre,
here in the deep blood’s casualness;
no need for the nag of redemption
where meaning is pulse, a teetering
joy so easily digested, life
such vulnerable, soaring breathing.
Only the fire brigade of silence
tames these curlicues of heat,
abashed stranger holding stranger
in wild furnace of this beat.

Japanese Garden
To harmonise with, or to
improve upon? The gardener
borrows the surrounding
hills, arranges stones around
a patch of sky –
or a miniature mountain
might thrust from some
backyard, its silky grass
Rocks themselves can be
unruly, and must be brushed,
unadorned. A hundred
clans of moss might flourish
beneath the maple leaf
(A deeper red last year, says
an expert on autumn).
Even the pines are protected
from snow, outcrops
joined in marriage, a solemn
festival for each flower, azalea
or camellia or dancing iris.

It is mist that moves here
cloaking statues
mild giants that haunt
and wait
that have grown here
brought into being
by nothing larger
than a man’s hands.
Naked as wind
the slave breathes toward
his freedom.
Morning has begun
edging white
around the black
and tangled trees
here and there
burgundy leaves
stuck on damp stone
and though no-one
is with you
it somehow seems
that you are not alone.

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

Topic tags: new australian poems, Shane McCauley, jazz, Japanese Garden, Meudon



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Existing comments

Truly beautiful; these pieces are a great means of sustaining life during work hours! Thank you.

Barry G | 18 October 2011  


Les wicks | 21 October 2011  

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