Poetry: the loaves and fishes,
That rabbit’s foot I carried in my left pocket
And then, in disgust, returned
To an interloper, robber of dead men’s dream,
The sins that flow between the hands and feet
Of a new and pitiless faith.
Sting them, sting them, my Anopheles.
Among the water-lilies
The symbols were evident,
They carried no echo.
The genitals (o lures of starveling faiths!)
Were wreathed in dying garlands.
I have pursued rhyme, image, and metre,
On the clouds of ancestral
Tumble. Rightly contempt
Has worn a haemorrhage in the lining
Of our serious frolic
And brings the gush of evanescent waters.
A splash — white foam in the dark!
And the sound track like a trail of saliva.
Only a part of me shall triumph in this
I said to my love (who is living)
And not till then did my voice build crenellated towers
Of our too rigid state.
The eyeless worm threads the bone, the living
Move in a calm immortal frieze
On the vertical banners of praise.
Out of the dark and self-denying wave
The green descant of frogs.
We dubbed it a sideshow.
My white swan of quietness lies
Under the carved rococo porch
Where the urchins pick their nose in the sun
And at the efflux of a period’s error
New sign-posts stretch out the road that lingers
On the hyperbolic.
The figure that strode hell swinging
Our creeping disjunct minds to incredible patterns,
Had his hand upon that snowy globe
But no one warned that the mind repeats
Like a white arm thrust
Over these sunken sodden breeding-grounds!
The pond-lilies could not stifle
Its insidious relations.
Our substance finds that his rude touch
Was transmuted to a troll.
The hand that would clutch
Was it not floating upon my tides?
Innumerable the images
When the hysterical vision strikes
And hurls him back against the opposite wall.
What would you have me do? Go to the wars?
Now in your honour Keats, I spin
The black swan of trespass on alien waters.
ENDONE® Oxycodone hydrochloride 5 mg
Blister-white tablet engraved with ‘ENDONE’
on one side, break bar the other.
It does not take the place of your doctor
or pharmacist: opium or morphine:
Accident or Emergency.
Store it below ground, above ground, in
an unlocked cupboard. Store it in the bathroom,
store it near the sink. Leave it on every
window sill, leave it in the car. Swallow
it before meals with a glass of nausea.
Do not show your pupils, abnormal,
do not show your restlessness, do not show your goose
-flesh, do not show your fast heart rate, do not show your new
-born child to a doctor or pharmacist.
The Rabbit Catcher
after Sylvia Plath
The little thickets were the only place to get to.
The absence of the sea
Set a white, extravagant quiet.
I awaited the great beauty of the gorse—
Ringing the snares with its unction.
It was intent, like torture.
Its dead black spikes
Made a hole in nothing.
And its flowers tasted like vacancy.
Notes on Poems:
‘Chalicento’ is a cento from Ern Malley’s ‘DUrer: Innsbruck, 1495’, ‘Sonnet for the Novachord’, ‘Sweet William’, ‘Boult to Marina’, ‘Sybilline’, ‘Night Piece’, ‘Documentary Film’, ‘Palinode’, ‘Night-piece (Alternate Version)’, ‘Baroque Exterior’, ‘Perspective Lovesong’, ‘Culture as Exhibit’, ‘Egyptian Register’, ‘Young Prince of Tyre’, ‘Colloquy with John Keats’ and ‘Petit Testament’.
‘ENDONE® Oxycodone hydrochloride 5 mg’ is a remix of some of the consumer medical information for ENDONE® Oxycodone hydrochloride and first appeared in Glasshouses
‘The Rabbit Catcher’ is a remix of some of Sylvia Plath’s ‘The Rabbit Catcher’ and first appeared in Plumwood Mountain
Stuart Barnes is the author of Glasshouses (UQP 2016), which won the Thomas Shapcott Poetry Prize, was commended for the Anne Elder Award and shortlisted for the Mary Gilmore Award. https://stuartabarnes.wordpress.com/ @StuartABarnes