Ethelred Malley: Soil: A Nocturne

By | 1 December 2010

for my late cousin Ernest

A bleat of lambs on Junee’s
naïve hills, a kind of white
foam in the dark; the clash
and slam of locomotive carriages:
stubborn cymbals of the Gods or
an ordinary torment? Such hyperbolic
music, I may have caught the railway blues!

How the mind repeats itself;
baked beans, heaped on my enamel
supper plate, chipped as any
conscience, o Nightshift
can your cruel roster!

I should have locked
the garden gate against
those volatile intruders
who swung their Eveready
torches over my lawn sculptures –
I tooled them all myself : a gathering
of penguins, swans, flamingoes
guarding the hydrangeas!

Louts kicked them down and
hurled them round and sprayed
them all with shaving cream (I have
the tin to prove it ), then darkened them
with thrusts of soil – can’t they read – are
they so illiterate – my signs that clearly
say No Trespassing No Hawkers. I sob
inside this rhetoric of slaughter!

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