The view from here IV

h e l l o   a n d   g o o d b y e

remembering that we don’t always read to believe, 
sometimes we do it to travel, to forget, to dream, to change
Martin Edmond

there is a path that climbs
out of sleep with clear notes
on five fingers
blown across sweet grassy
plains    there is no holding
them they move like the wind
over your sleeping face
which knows where it has been
and why it must remember
the path that climbs
out of sleep and into the green
heartstring morning

vibrato the bell in the throat
the ball in the whistle when it’s low
and your breath is the slow bounce
of ropes that braid and twist
and hold up the floating planet
as if by magic
tremolo a fibrillation of the air
and its concertos better even
than a neighbour deciding between
harpsichord and salt fish
running through his fingers
and over the dark garden to where
we’re walking along
looking for the sound
of a word so deep in theft
its adventures have hardly begun

delirium    lady
in Illyria with a lily he calls
Elysium    the newly alighted angel’s
lineal poise    lirio what would you
on her silver tomb lirica
the white notebook up against
the red wall the black words
going on into the light 
lady I am negative wingspan
in Illyria and he is
Elysium    a lily a lyric
a white delirium

I saw you, you were
a minim wraith of silver light
the day moon a figure
on the road the blue moon
resurrected    sister lucy gone
to heaven in her silver boat
grass ghosts beginning to sing
and you on the spiral road

when I walk sea waves
as I turn glass mallets
and turn again wind chimes
sleeping with the last track
climbing the stairs in the dark

I wait and wait
and the weight of waiting
is impossible    cicadas shrill
above the cricket boys
over the daughter chorus 
that pearly necklace
I’m looking for in all the stations
on the way to Ocean City
Go with Eros    it’s plain as day
a mob of arboreal lorikeets
another kind of whistle
for the chorus
chiasmos comes and goes
thiasos is my east
my new looking my ghost
along the spiral road

looking up
from the dark garden
the vision of the boat
sailing in the sky
Fra Angelico’s room and nobody
left behind    no one missing
out on its mother of pearl ceilings
I cannot bear the pain
liths of orange    what does it mean
liths of orange roughy on
a big white plate
life and limb    kith and kin 
lift us into heaven tonight

she is a wounded bird
ringnecked dove where the air stopped
being vitreous and she fell
like a stone    the sonic boom
of her catastrophe
left a hole in the air the shape
of one meeting disaster
on a clear blue day
she could tell us
what it feels like to hit aporia
he has found her
on the ground who was a blur
of wings in her world
immaculate Viennese
coffee with cream what is that word
she is dying and he is sixteen
he lifts her tenderly
who has never touched death
soft feathers and dark eyes
lined with kohl mama
you were beautiful    schlagobers
dancing on the tables
of the Kaffeekammer Katzenjammer
whipped cream with ruffles
he buries her
by the white flowered ginger
and the air repairs itself
becoming the way she was
becoming the way it was
always about to be

sun in Aries monarchs sailing
in blue air
wingprints like blossom
or leaves on the ground
in front of the iron gate
an egg, an echo
riro on the hill leading
the grass ghosts
who are everywhere now
we’re listening
and here they come
two kids with a camera
by the obelisk
wanting a photograph
hand in hand
and a long way off
the sound of someone
breathing as if every breath
is a memento
Easter moon frangipani
lifting out of the ocean
how could we have known
wingprints blossom leaves
riro ghost the sound
of years running backwards
and forwards over the grass
against the blue air
and the inexorable weave
Easter moon white ginger
sun in Aries we stop swimming

flutes and bells
in the dark garden
and above it
passiflora making her way
across the sky
low whistles and white shells
touching the ears as we go
past the ghosts of ourselves
who have been here
who will go with her now
as she climbs molo molo
into the sky
O Easterners day by day
we are drawn
to your opulent diary
the cabbage trees tika tika tika
the grass that says only
break one string
and ten thousand things
will replace it
bells and flutes and drums
on the seaward side above
the place called Paradise
morning sun
and the boy who roars
swimming along the beach
I don’t see him
but I know he’s there
the whole neighbourhood
hears him and knows
he’s singing
hello and goodbye

Michele Leggott

More poems in ‘The view from here’ series

The view from here — Ian Wedde

Takahe — Bill Manhire 

Cilla, writing — Elizabeth Smither

Breach — Cilla McQueen

Between Shingle Creek and Fruitlands — Brian Turner

In these troubled times — Vincent O'Sullivan

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