A ray of light, to an oblique observer,
Remains invisible in pure dry air;
But shone into a turbid element
It throws distracting side-gleams everywhere
The magpie's mood is never surly
every morning, wakening early,
he gargles music in his throat,
Spring stars glitter in the freezing sky,
Trees on watch are armoured with frost.
In the dark tarn of a mirror a face appears.
I had often, cowled in the slumbrous heavy air,
Closed my inanimate lids to find it real,
As I knew it would be, the colourful spires
My father and my mother never quarrelled.
They were united in a kind of love
As daily as the Sydney Morning Herald,
Rather than like the eagle or the dove.
A year ago you came
Early into the light.
You lived a day and night,
Then died; no one to blame.
That each thing is a word
Requiring us to speak it;
From the ant to the quasar,
From clouds to ocean floor-
Not how you would be thought of, your color
Being grey, silky, like a second skin, your hair
Flecked with it. Now, hearing your way of saying
Iridescent while I read your poem, three years
A sky contused and rifted like a wound:
Red-amber gum exudes from the dark tree;
A long day’s dying. Small anatomy
Locked in this nameless grave’s neglected mound,
This morning, friends, the blackboard will be black
Behind my skull: your eyelids will be slack,
And I could wearily cajole from you, or you,
Slow answers to dull questions; or grow annoyed