James Phillip McAuley

(12 October 1917 – 15 October 1976 / Lakemba, New South Wales)

Marginal Note - Poem by James Phillip McAuley

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

And is diminished by what takes the eye.
So poetry that moves by chance collision
Scatters its brightness at each random mote
And mars the lucid order of its vision.

The purest meditation will appear
Faint or invisible to those who glance
Obliquely at its unreflected beam;


Comments about Marginal Note by James Phillip McAuley

  • (12/12/2009 9:06:00 AM)


    This reminds me of a chapter in the Tao Te Ching. That which is deepest and most subtle is barely noticed, except by those who value the greatest things. This poem is excellent: there's concision, depth, and good flow. It is beautifully understated and meditative. (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
Read all 1 comments »



Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: poetry, light



Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 1, 2004



Famous Poems

  1. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  5. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  6. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  7. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  8. Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
    Mary Elizabeth Frye
  9. I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You
    Pablo Neruda
  10. A Dream Within A Dream
    Edgar Allan Poe
[Report Error]