Pas de deux

(aprés Paul-Louis Rossi)

It happens – well most of it – en passant:
a marginal glance, a peripheral word
that means little or nothing – & everything –
that?s caught by eye or ear, is captured
as if on tape or by a camera’s lens,
is cemented into ganglia & synapse, is
seen, remembered, heard again, slides
unexpectedly into focus –

a woman waving from a window …

Sometimes it’s a train that’s passing,
a bus, an unseen pianist practising
something of Beethoven, Schopin, Liszt
– one of the masters – a fragment, an event
from ten years back vaguely recollected,
drifting across an overgrown driveway:
the night sky, water under willows
a particular occasion –

your name scratched in sand …

then, the absolute, the complete moment
that seems at first unfamiliar,
disembodied, to have no substance,
no location, to be shadow without
structure, shape without form
that appears from nowhere –
becomes unexpectedly &
immediately recognisable …

from Summer in the Cote D’Azur (HeadworX, 2003), © Alistair Paterson 2003, used by permission of the author. Recording from the Aotearoa New Zealand Poetry Sound Archive 2004

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