Purple House − Maleny

By | 1 May 2020

It is a purple house in the shape of a shell
or an ear, which is impossible, except this
is someone able to hear the brain’s music.
Her mountain home crouches where it can listen
to the valley: undercurrents of sadness, noble lies,
a hand finding a hand while asleep.
Three young women pass me on the steep path
and laugh, but not unkindly; they detect
the hardscrabble hope of her visitors.
She places my freesias on a 1920s piano,
key lid hinged by brass, that reminds her of Vienna,
of coffee and songs after medical lectures.
It needs tuning, a project for next winter she says,
when the birds will know this is not a competition.
There is no laughing Buddha here, no incense or bell,
but walking fern, bloodwood and scrub cherry,
and behind her house a mountainside
that is careless drunk with eucalypt musk.
We stand on the cliff and I know nothing can spoil this:
an osprey that has found a late thermal,
a red kite that strains on its string, the lost notes
of Mozart’s last mass in a trumpet flower.
Every dominion of the sun cooperates, moves closer.
It is all the best that I have seen in my life so far
and all that I will never see, which is the same thing.
This insight is first bitter, then sweet to the tongue.

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