Pukapuka Books


Monday, June 7, 2010

Pukapuka Poem #17 - Michael O'Leary

Ebb and Flow

 grapes outside my window grow
small bitter fruit
but green and restful to the city eye are the leaves of the vine
and I wonder who you are my love
out the other window of my room
are peach trees unpruned
nearly fruitless
beyond those I can see
beyond the two tall palms
I can see the gum trees
of Te Puke ō Wairaka, the hill once ruled by a princess
and I wonder who you are my love
sometimes you seem so far away
when I look in your beautiful eyes
and then
sometimes I am far away
not quite believing you are here
- darkness hovers and
I know I’ll never leave your side
as your voice opens my heart
and I know who you are my love
in this age of quiet uncertainty
when wars of past generations linger
in the present mind like comic characters,
larger than life, yet
like any ordinary thing
they too have fallen behind mushroom-cloud technology
- gone the way of all flesh

after the bomb there will be no flesh
no movement, no sound …
yes I wonder who you are my love
with sweet breasts and gentle hold
where does our love go
- let us wrap our arms around each other and forget
tomorrow is another day

when children need to be fed and clothed
their little fears and joys are ours in detailed sketches
so, the Monster will get us if …
the Monster within!
and you my beautiful woman
rich in taste and smell and spirit and touch
still I wonder who you are my love
- and who am I the dog
the dog of war and the dog of the moon

the man, the strength of sky who when not blue
opens his eyes and pours the bitter tears of separation
on the earth-woman
and love either grows or drowns
two hundred years I follow
with bearded face and wild eye
to find again the woman of my spirit
whose touch and smell I recognise like an instinct

in weakness I move away
in doubt I deny the existence of love and the past
but death and love are not on my trail
I wonder who you are my love
and the wonder of this life is in you

sand and shells and waves
                                    into which I dive
then swim underwater until I reach the calm beyond
                                    the breakers …
a beach is an adventure and our love is a beach
a beach on Upolu where you drowned when I was an Irish
                                    sea dog
and a beach is where we love, dreaming of the sea
            I wonder who you are my love
as the tide goes out
and comes in …

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