The Dark Side of the Head


I.M. Gwen Harwood,1920-1995

Just around the corner of the eye,
at every reach of its big screen,
there is a magic which is neither
black nor white, but only absent:
the disappearance of all world.

Even when the eyes are shut,
and all the field is pink or dark,
it still unhappens, at the rim
– a sudden gradual nothing,
beneath the notice, or beyond.

I sometimes hope that if
my head jerks leftwards, quick
as warp, I might just catch
the edge of right side visual field,
as if there is no dark side of the head

but one world only, seamless,
like the small curved universes
painted on the Grecian urns,
or like a Mercator projection
of the globe, that having mapped

itself, bent weirdly at the polar
ends, for flat-screen eyes,
now unmaps in reverse, becoming
whole again and full and round
and as satisfactory as heaven.

from New Selected Poems (Duffy & Snellgrove, 2001), copyright © Peter Goldsworthy 2001, used by permission of the author.

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