I’ve run from the valley’s crazy harvest
I’ve run for the ravine’s azure loft
I’m resting on this idle rim
the song breathing hard within me
I am resting
a song is breathing
the wind sneaks up
sneaks up on the shoulders of the silence
the wind sneaking up
asking, aaasking – only the mmm
the merest tip, almost white, slightest asking, “Who?
who?” Then: “WHO?”
“WHO ARE YOU?”
before darting off, a woolly
blanket over sleeping bedrock
at rest I’m rolling hills coated in blackest syrup
I’m at the edge of body
I’m at the very edge of ether
I’ve never known who, but wants re-elongate me
to glare presence
I am oozing this sweet honey
I am a child of the thumping paw prints
of the rolling canto
the pure phrase
eternity’s at my back
the land is brittle
as old rat rachis
my tail is a serpent
it follows me breezily through altitudes
or the shape is just a log
glinting with moss
and I’m lost in lamp, swiping at tinges
of spider and tic
in which case I’m a frail, spluttering orb
an organism shrinking amidst the honeyed-smoke
of fried almonds
but I am still singing this song
earth is certainty
my body is mercurial
I’m seeping back to jewel potential
a smile in the night’s pupil
either certainty or who
might approach will fall
into the folds beside each word
shredded by synonym
lashed by saliva strings
my steely gristle-music fight!
but the song stops again
I am meat cured beside a mossy log
Miles from any place, translating pressurised thought
into a torrent’s punch, or
sting and spider needle, or
drill and tic guts.
I’m at weather’s mercy;
my tail is a blind serpent.
I’m dense frequency heavy,
clumsier than speech.
I am still seeking this song.
At rest I am rolling hills coated
in blackest syrup.
My paws know better. All sense ends in shred:
signal clumping into claws, into my forest of teeth.
At rest I am the rolling hills,
or I am relocating mercurially.
Any snap, any rustle is
I am land-beat, figure limbed:
my face is a carving in a century of rock;
at flight I shed semantic cloaks.
I am far from here and always;
I am far from here and always, kill: song’s rupture;
potent and nervous, vibe’s shot,
porous as the heaviest gust.
This song I am, still.
Stuart Cooke‘s latest collection is Opera (Five Islands Press, 2016). He is the winner of the 2016 Gwen Harwood Prize and the 2016 New Shoots Prize. He lives on the Gold Coast, where he lectures at Griffith University.