Friday, May 12, 2006

Friday poetry blogging: The Millstones

This is my favourite poem ever but it took me weeks to find a copy, which is why it hasn't appeared here until now.

The Millstones

James K. Baxter

I do not expect you to like it. Winter
Has found his way into the tunnels of the mind
And will not leave us.

Often between the millstones,
In a stranger's house, perhaps drunk,
One of us would remember
The lagoons and the water birds, sleep that came
Like the travelling of the tide under a boat's keel.

Endlessly in memory I followed the river
To the place it sprang from, among broom bushes
In a gully above the dam. Brother,
It taught me nothing but how to die;
The house is empty. In the paddock alongside it
On a tree one bitter shrunken apple.
It is the hour of ghosts.

Do not forget
The time between the millstones was a real time;
The battles were real, foul sweat, foul blood,
Though now the earth is trying to persuade us
We are children again. The gales of the south sea
Will hammer tonight on a shut window.

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