Poem beyond Love



You are the generosity of wings, opened into the recent sun,

the inner ear of heat-weltered corrugated iron,

a vast that yawns through the flower’s nuclear mouth.

Your five moods, unspoken, remember on someone else’s lips

wheels of bright water, the rain-blown sorrowing of far-

flung gulls, the cramped world visited beneath a boulder.

Whom you believe yourself is flotsam. The consummate you

has knitted itself a thicket of ocean-washed bones.

Your voice is the first plunging of an oar, the vee of a swan

gliding into night. A droughted spider sips from your tears.

You are more beautiful than this fallen-down shed.

Your face darkens like wind in the language of old afternoons;

the sum-total of you is distance, sunlight on wide seas.

You are shadows, swept into shore when the life burns out.


Who is condemned movement, a tense of dry thistles,

the which way of sticks scalped from wind-blown trees,

stutters and shirks (leak and shudder the floor-boards),

impelled through the inquisitive stomach of the worm

struggling through his quandary of endless grains;

whom this you rain down on is pebble curt. Secure in my

meaning of silence, I will not show you the dark blaze

of your love, the truth and crying murmuring of its ripples.

Who is ear-swept, an organization of the seasons,

outstripped and craved-for as the hull to its bow-wave,

who would be made, and applauds the insolent moth,

and poems the despair of fitful, dying animals –

who hoards the twilight in an old bottle of broken words,

is yet forgiven, having known only your shadows.

from The Life and the Dark (Auckland University Press, 2004), © Richard Reeve 2004, used by permission of the author and the publishers. Poet’s private recording 2011

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