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.