Bruce Beaver

(14 Februrary 1928 - 17 February 2004 / New South Wales / Australia)

East Of Atlan - Poem by Bruce Beaver

<i>for Dorothy Porter </i>
Square white roofs with square white towers.
Above them, balconies of white
abutting, tables richly bearing
fruit and wine, with amply cushioned
curving divans of carved wood.
Several figures, fair haired, supply
tall in pastel gowns, one white
as the shining bright of the balcony.
Infinite unspotted blue
above, immense unclouded zenith.
To the east the glinting turquoise
of the high noon’s restless ocean.
Speech as music intermingling,
words as notes and chorded phrases.
Someone wanted to fly off the
balcony and be a seabird.
Nobody at first restrained him
for he often poised for flight from
everything inanely earthbound.
Flapping sleeves he stood and chanting
challenged ocean to receive him
as the first to be engulfed by
watery impatient lavings.
He would be the first and others
by the million follow him
for the continent was crumbling
slowly from the southern edges.
Surely it would take so many
years to rob us of our birthright
but we acted out the barely
yet believed in last submergence
of the first of continents
foremost still in all our dreaming.
Ships were leaving daily nightly
packed with passengers and produce
even to barbaric landfalls.
We would be the last to witness
high untroubled noons like this one.
Not a tremor underneath us,
only fruit and wine forever
and our poet scarce restrained from
leaping from the radiant rooftop.
Holding him we felt a sudden
chill breeze on our backs and bare heads.
Evening had come early to us.

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Langston Hughes


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Poem Submitted: Monday, April 30, 2012

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