Sunday: ‘(Everything can be) transformed,

Sunday: ‘(Everything can be) transformed,

deformed (and) obliterated (by light)’
Man Ray

Now light won’t be still but glissades down the sky,
glints fish scales on water that would be grey.
A cormorant is one black speck on this sharp sea. It dives

where we imagine it darker still though it may be
silvered with the rhythm of small fish. Needing air,
needing to be underwater, if it maintains a straight line, it

should emerge over there, or there. We reach into ourselves
but can’t say anything except quite or just,
shaping fish that squeeze through our palms and slip away.


Speech has been selected, the philosopher muses
to out-think thought. He could say an oracle
is just as true when false. This also

a new reality on the ground as is a Man Ray photograph
of a cork, a feather and a spiral object entitled
‘Origin of the Species’, or the rayographs he invented

in a darkroom accident. Everything conspires, everything
is yoked by restless approximations so anything
may not be one thing or another but both,

a body and its ghost, empty space, dark force. It’s hard to know
what’s provisional, what eternal, or if the ideas themselves
are to blame, like trying to believe the universe

originates from a single spot or the beaks of finches
are proved fact and consequence. That black butterfly
on the moonflower vine is bigger than the heart-shaped leaves.

It has a blind white eye on either wing. Perhaps we will adapt.


Leaf-lie is polarised a rich sienna red, greens are deepened
and I step into my rag-limbed slouch of shadow,
eyeful of thought until a bough cracks my head.

Sea eagles swing above and coming in low and chevron-shaped
is a three-gull flight. A fishing boat drifts above its double,
wheelhouse glimmers skip and are absorbed, distance

in this bird-path, light-path, the vertiginous impulse.
It’s as though the sea could suck you down to where
John Foster Dulles says to Nehru, ‘Are you with us

or against us,’ and he replies, ‘Yes.’ It’s only a matter of time.


Thick fog re-shapes Sydney. Sea and sky elide so cliffs
exist as premonition. Cars prowl like cats at night,
the world not quite awake, not quite sure

what will emerge. The new liberators
are caught on film dissimulating sex,
linking hooded men to faux-electric wires.

Comprehension is in the slippage,
the crack between what we think and what
it may turn out to mean. Here hope is weight deferred:

it rankles to think relative in this suspected light.

from Uncommon Light (River Road Press, 2007), Brook Emery 2007, used by permission of the author and River Road Press

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