STONE PIECES

I

my Carrara marble egg
its perfect ovoid
disguising the sculptor’s failure
to liberate the angel
contained within that block of stone

benign in its insinuation
luminescent in this afternoon’s light
a useful paperweight underselling its promise

with its mate placed in the hutch
to encourage that hen to lay
no amount of brooding
can impart sufficient heat
to cause those eggs to hatch

not enough to stop her trying

II

secrets as subtle as the mason’s handshake

never to lift a block of stone
when easing walking bouncing
will dance it into place just as well

if you don’t leave spaces
you’re just building a wall

I come back to these words
a revenant to cut and slash to fashion sense
an echo where the words once were

all poetry consists of remnants
the art in the spaces as much as what remains

ARIADNE AND THE MINOTAUR

For Fred Lang

there! the southern cross

points HMS Ariadne’s war time
Lieutenant Commander long retired

as we stand on the edge of
civilising light where paths
tangle into a bush labyrinth
near the border back of Eden

at least your daughter’s middle name
now makes sense

beneath the unfamiliar southern sky
I wondered why you chose to point this out
precisely then
under the words I hear your stream
hitting the dust and dry grass
your private sigh

that’s why you startled on my approach

I join you taking a piss
on that dark night
we shake last drops
turn in unison towards the light
following the thread back
to the weave of conversation
carried on inside

FOR CAITLIN

I

reprising the roadtrip
from half a lifetime ago
a father and his daughter

in the passenger window
a woman I can’t identify
my own reflection
some stranger

heading for the snow
we breast the ridge
between Cooma and Jindabyne
get our first glimpse
of white on the ridgeline

ribbon gum dieback
the Monaro barren
granite boulders punctuate
the bare paddocks
like a giant game of marbles

crowtorn roo and
exmarked wombats
reclining like sunbathers
as we rush by roadkill

II

my playlist of
Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan
fails to entrance
so much for gravel voiced old men

I summarily dismiss your offer
of your own playlist
and the opportunity
to hand over the driving
remembering my failure
to teach you to drive

as happy in our long silences
as we are
in the challenge of our conversation

FOR STEVEN

I

the true supplicant
seeks eternal balance
in a tent by the creek
forsaking most things we crave
sleeps by an open fire

embers smoke the frozen dawn
where the gums arch towards the light
a cathedral in which to dwell
a kingfisher opalizes the water

hard to be humble
when this is all you own

II

wakes at dawn naked
struts the polished floor
of the house he designed and built
imposed upon the land

wonders at the majesty
of the range folding
lustily upon itself
like a lover
hard not to be challenged
by this act of dispossession

the greed of
trying to own all this