Clarence Lyric

For Alec and Penelope Hope

Surrounded by his
Pills and bottles
The old man’s heaped
In bed at last
Washed in sidelong
From the world
Which circles seaward
With his past

Carpet snakes
With rats and swallows
Weave their close
Dependent lives
Invade the paintings
Whiteants hollow
Out the piles

A grandson and his
Wife move in
Rational with
Paint and saw
Three children spread
Into the rooms
Banging through the
Cedar doors

One soon lost
To outer paddocks
Another buoyant
On her smile
A third obscurely
Stalled by fiction
In a chair not
Quite in style

Snakes slide from
The long verandah
Rats go back
To tractor sheds
All morning through
The polished glass
A man stares outwards
From the dead

Sees the river
Skimmed with wind
Hears the children
Start to fight
The afternoon
Goes on forever
The westward pools
Are filled with light

from Footwork (Angus & Robertson, 1988), Geoff Page 1988, used by permission of the author. The recording is taken from Coffee with Miles (River Road Press, 2009) Geoff Page/River Road Press, 2009

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