Little Songbook of the Dark One

Tonight your breath smells of the Autumn rain 
That ran barefoot on grass all afternoon. 
We’re amateurs in life, so thunderclouds 
Will trouble us each time they come our way. 
We don’t know how to love, or even let 
The rain complete its work inside our words; 
Yet when I watch the rain, Dark One, I’m home, 
And when we touch, I also touch the rain.  

*

You’re not prepared to hear of him: Dark One. 
You cannot see him with those eyes of yours. 
Your words, big locks on little glimmerings.  
You hear the slow, dark turning of a storm 
And not the darker words he breathes in you.  
You hear me speak, and say, “Too sweet by half!” 
And never know that drawing close to him 
Is licking honey on a razorblade.    

*

Late Autumn, Dark One, and the mind is hard. 
It sees dun leaves go past, all whipped by wind, 
And thinks the dead should be content with death: 
Those beery leaves and whiskey leaves must leave, 
Old violin leaves, lost jockey leaves as well, 
Thin trees with worried leaves and gold leaf too, 
Burnt apple leaves, dirt leaves with crackle veins.  
Late Autumn, Dark One, and my mind’s a whip.   

*

One half of me is here; the other half 
Must wait a little longer to be born:
And so I let the silence nest in me
And lower myself down into myself.
I gaze at gum trees, older than ten wars, 
And cold air blossoms with a magpie’s call. 
I read of fighting in your book, but you, 
Dark One, you doodle clouds all afternoon.

*

All morning long, the valley’s sleepy breath, 
And at my feet, young grass with fine white hair;
All morning long I look, and sip my time: 
The sun snagged on a gatepost for a while, 
One of those little towns turned way down low. 
All afternoon, my scalene heart, Dark One, 
My mind that runs and clatters after you,
And then all night the wild track of your love.
 
*

Wind works all night; deep snow is pumiced smooth
Above fine ice that wants us on our backs.
It’s black and white out there, but I see love
In filigrees of snow near lumpy cars.
Ah, so you’re there as well, Dark One, and here
In flames that leap a little in my grate,
And in my lover’s legs across my lap:
For hours my hands caress those curves of snow.

*

There is a blue through which I fall all day 
When stretching out on fat, rich summer grass, 
And you are there, behind it all, they say, 
Like backing on a mirror one can’t see. 
Dark One, I look for you those afternoons; 
You’re here, I know, with birds that cross the sky, 
Rapt sunlight riding on their wings. I taste
Those clouds that lick up all the cream on Earth. 

*

Death’s never late, Dark One, you’re good that way, 
Always on time, give eighty years or so. 
It comes in pains I can’t explain, in gaps 
Between the doctor’s words, and in regret: 
Glass paper scratching hard against the heart. 
Death’s never late; it’s in the waiting room,
Then brings me to a blank, cold sea to brood 
And wrenches my big head to look for you.   

*

The windows whisper for an hour or two 
And then a silence walks around the house, 
And somehow you’re inside it, that I know, 
Because my words go quiet when you are here. 
Dark One, I sit alone without a light 
And let the darkness bring me close to you: 
I hear my heart switch to a smaller drum, 
I listen to the paddocks slowly breathe. 
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