Thursday, 24 January 2013

Two poems by Sue Wootton

Tomorrow The Happiest Music on Earth will be published here. I asked Sue to send me a couple of her poems as a kind of amuse-bouche for her stories, but also, I asked, might there be a poem set in Dunedin which we are about to leave for a spell? (I've had to make the font small so the lines won't be broken up by blogspot but, maddeningly, the line spacings are having a life of their own. Please try to see around the oddities. In the first, the stanza lengths are are 4 lines, 1, 4, 4, 1. The second is as it appears.)


The usual Thursday route, the usual Thursday corner, round you go 
and on the top cathedral step eight boys in grey trousers and school blazers
jostle and jest and joust.  A rowdy show, all muscle and shout, all foot- stomp 
and wrestle and sweat.  An empty bus blats a filthy fart and grinds uphill

and you walk on

and stop:  in its wake some other sound, full and clean, like a memory of  rivers

before we milked them dry.  Solemn on the highest step under an array of stony spires

they are singing, holding out their palms in gift.  No teacher, no parent,

has composed this moment. This, they say, is us. Eight young men call up

a requiem from a well so deep it taps planet-flame; molten baritone

pours into the world.  Every Thursday pops its little allocated square, dissolves

to unexpected holy now.  All the deaths in you lift for this tenderness
and you lean a while on the curlicue fence, vow to make 

a better, more beautiful home.

I couldn't resist sharing this one, too, that speaks of return. 

Magnetic South

You are my magnetic south.
I fall to you true.

I am the eel, the gull,
the silvery fish,
returning and returning.

Yours is the tide I swim to.
                                                  SUE WOOTTON

No comments: