Academic journal article Antipodes

Correspondence

Academic journal article Antipodes

Correspondence

Article excerpt

. . . my life or my thoughts on life always seem to he prefixed

by someone else's thoughts and I seem to live from one scat

tered trail of someone's poem to another.

- Joy Hester, from a letter to Sunday Reed, Junel949

(I)

Some small piece of history will do - page of a diary, passage of a letter

from one woman to another. A complaint or, better still, a compliment turned

on a full stop, an about-face on a comma - punctuation a willed act,

a cock-of-the-walk mood breaker. Tonight the moon came in on its back,

end-hooks sharpened by infinity. Such darkness is deeply personal,

blackness not black but volume .

(ii)

Love was your substance of abuse, ink the medium with its quick

forms. That cradled head you sketched in painterly terms

looks dismembered, pain of connection (a man's head rears)

tenuous but strong, like a strip of adhesive that will not budge.

To peel away you risk tearing, as only woman can.

I am afraid for you - your dying may not yet be done.

(iii)

I have only images to rely on - words in script and type

along with photographs and drawings. I will never hear their voices.

I have walked in their garden, found amaranth decades after planting.

It leans over a path, silent in furred magenta.

Voices are in ink and in earth.

It is not their suffering. Not fame nor, in their time, lack of it.

It is something in the spaces of our separate existence - the way

now and then are not in the same paddock but share a commonality;

the way now and then shunt sunlight and shadow

with the same dispassion.

(iv)

Through the letters - a phrase in the shape of a mail slot.

The letters glide like pressed flowers across the floor -

paper-whites, dogwood bracts, Blanc double de Coubert roses. …

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