the poetry that matters

Michael Fitzgerald-Clarke

Michael Fitzgerald-Clarke was born in Doncaster, England, in 1959. A long-time Australian resident and citizen, since 2009 he has resided in tropical Townsville. He has had six poetry collections published, Let the Sea Find its Edges (Dolmen House, 2013), The Paradoxophies, co-authored with Martha Landman, (Dolmen House, 2012), Ultramundane Shadows (Globusz, 2008), Three Hundred and Sixty-four Paper Boats (Pudding House, 2007), Deep Wings (White Heron Press, 2004), and S-h-hidelplonk (Pudding House, 2002). His Selected and New Poems, to be titled The Incompleat Poetries, will be published in 2014.


Poem for Louise and Theodore


          Tilting back the sunlight.

                   -- Theodore Roethke




Dissolve into shadow, the fact

a ballet for the inexperienced.

Her sinew a remarkable fire

unused to truthfulness.  He has

an inner breadth of insistence,

which means nothing until an

attachment of light.  Louise,

emphatic, so moderate even many

girls crave her shadow, the

will to be difficult.  Inside her,

her bareness, her alchemy food

for the unwary.  An oyster, as if

slid from the sky this night,

looks for a pearl older than time—

be a bohemian: he asks for free

somethings and she, waiting for

love, wheels something sweet

and pallid until they both age,

both enter the anteroom of a

God who authors poets who

write poems that ship water.




Common to all, like the genetic

code of a suburb, a mantra

suitable yet elusive, wild as

an orchid outside a hothouse.

Turn your hands, then turn

them again—air moves around

them, poetry writ in impulse.

Theodore, your skin is working

in my gaze, siphoning my rock.

If she wears cashmere, a celebrant

might belong deeper than her, that

is the notion of the sun’s weave,

the stars’ weft.  See: nothing is

free unless you open the gift

box, and carefully take the sun

out.  He combs his hair.  She

combs her hair.  A bell rings toward

eternity.  Oh!  the patterns tolling.




This, an end.  They had sex.  Words

seat themselves in the makeshift

theatre.  “It is not necessary, two

acts of the play remain.”  “We are

yielding, my love, to do more

than bind our souls.”  This almost

pleases the heavens.  On the other

side, small, belonging to him, a cold

mischief.  She lights a candle,

watches the smooth flame as if the

sky offered two-way communion.

This, a dramatic propinquity borne

by every downwards angle.  Act as

nature becomes, exactly.  Now your

tendency belies the stuff of water,

it is private, and follows prophecy.

“Are we waiting to kiss?”  “We have

had sex – isn’t that enough?”  Build

on the circumference of question, write

boulders into the mountains, kill

birds.  And when they have all

dropped still into shadow, realise

the universe of your loss, and be

glad of the people you are, be

underneath God as you wash your

underclothes under your hidden being.


                                                                                               December 27, 2013