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.
'Poem beyond Love' 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.