Bruce Beaver

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

Lauds And Plants (Xiv) - Poem by Bruce Beaver

<i>Like a bridge over troubled water, I will lay me down
Simon & Garfunkel</i>
what does the world know of you and me
together what does it know of us together
why should it care

if separated we should depend on substanceless
memories and make much of moments
gone into the timeless

not far from where you are now is still a beach
at the side of a Bay of Islands township circumspect
of history and tourism

white board roofs and walls salt-white sunlight
abutting the beach a road of residentials
front row of a summer place

we came there in mid-winter torn from a hibernating
cover by a need to distance ourselves
from a nest sullied by unrest

impending ill-health and the threat of a Damoclean
future pressing us into temporary exile
from the hill-encircled city

inclined but unable to be lovers we walked
the open streets of the town and promenaded
the beach front road accompanied

by an old black dog who picked us up and posed
for our photographs looking up understandingly
into our bewildered eyes

along the harsh sanded tideline heaped with shell
and a wrack of pebble-smooth green glass fragments
coin-sized and shaped

the worn pieces of china plate and crockery
cameoed still with gull's eye glimpses of willow
pattern blue and white

others with roseate reminders of a durable
past of generations of meals and afternoon
teas the beach was homelily

haunted by endurance we sat on yellow ochred
rocks at one end beneath a small cliff
and looked across the bay

towards the treaty house handsomer than
though somehow not so self-important as
the gravure tourist brochures

advising us we were now part of the country's
history during our stay at least as significant
if not in our own eyes

then in those of the quietly possessive locals
as the bullet pocked walls of the oldest church
the hill-top high flagpole

lopped down by a rebellious Maori and re-erected
several times to the alternate chagrin
and amusement of the settlers

on the far side of the bay we found a long white
beach empty of visitors and walked our apprehensions
down and underfoot

for the day I have the photo of you fawn slacked
and mohair scarved as chic as Laurent model
perched upon a log

walking we talked of things in front of us there
and then the instantaneous gossip of being
opened our minds to the mild

onrush of winter sunlight and the keen
salt-edged breeze on the verge of gusts seated
you sketched shells and stark branches

in charcoal or sepia ink which I inscribed
with almost appropriate imitation senryu
skeptical zen tyros

I read Wu Cheng-en in a paperback translation
Witheford’s third book of hermetic verse
and you Waley’s versions

of never-at-home-except-to-convalesce Po Chu-I
our English landlady told us with fevered eyes
and parched carping voice

that D.H.L. was filthy and so was sex
her husband made us over-seasoned meals
with an off season enthusiasm

we had to cross the road when an old horse farted
back at us from a sparse field even here were
disturbed stomachs and minds

all this so little to recall so less than nothing
to the world was our first time alone
together released a while

from the terrible slavery of money minting hours
our continent honeymoon in the tiny room
at an empty guest house

the short breathed prelude to the dinning long-winded
cantata of collapse and agonising
rehabilitation

separately always together even now
bridged over troubled waters of bereavement
consummation consummation


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Poem Submitted: Monday, April 30, 2012



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