Kenneth Slessor

(27 March 1901 – 30 June 1971 / Orange, New South Wales)

Sleep


Do you give yourself to me utterly,

Body and no-body, flesh and no-flesh

Not as a fugitive, blindly or bitterly,

But as a child might, with no other wish?

Yes, utterly.



Then I shall bear you down my estuary,

Carry you and ferry you to burial mysteriously,

Take you and receive you,

Consume you, engulf you,

In the huge cave, my belly, lave you

With huger waves continually.

And you shall cling and clamber there

And slumber there, in that dumb chamber,

Beat with my blood's beat, hear my heart move

Blindly in bones that ride above you,

Delve in my flesh, dissolved and bedded,

Through viewless valves embodied so –



Till daylight, the expulsion and awakening,

The riving and the driving forth,

Life with remorseless forceps beckoning –

Pangs and betrayal of harsh birth.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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