Far from the city
Like casualties touching, teaching each other
To limp better, we shared crutches until the end;
You in your uncertain personality
Me furtive, chased by my one fear
Of being with myself. We left the confines
Of dazzling geometry and struck camp
A distance away from the smouldering city towers
Removed to where the sun flailed the earth
And made grapevines and grain and allowed minds to grow quieter.
But it did no good. You had been trained
Too well and had learnt to swallow by heart
The music of masters. You were the flute you played.
Like a jug does, you longed for the filling
And you welcomed the flavour of every last cordial
Poured into the concave of your well-formed want.
Time has passed and I remain in the dry valley
Where the priest-corrupter took you away.
The hammering love gave me
Has worked another alchemy.
Instead of precious metal it struck through to granite
Inside me, a sour note for some, but the colour
I found of sageness and restraint. Now I do not
Seek you in dreams, where your body performs
Miracles, erotic or surreal. I think only occasionally
On how you might be performing a shapely ritual
A divine receptacle for dictates
Of others’ rhymes or music.
Today in this midday land, I have eluded
The fear of being alone, for I turned
Quickly enough and snared its loathsome shadow.
This afternoon I squat in the loom of darkness
One pocket of shelter under the sun’s knuckled blast
A place that smells of basil after harshness of light.
I rest and listen in the rippling cool of twilight.
Here I have seen in a sun-carved landscape the heart
To be found in these scattered stones, the glint
That signals up from granite. In the valley
Of abandonment where trees long dead
Writhe up for the sun, where rosemary
Is the wind’s better friend, I draw water from a well
Of the alone, sustenance hauled in dripping buckets
Up from resonating dark, astringent and pure
Uninformed water, a tacit friend for my tongue.
The syrup I tasted and once licked up faithfully
Was too sweet for a mind obedient to such charm
Too tingling a pleasure, informed by the favoured
Ones, verse-contrivers who pocketed my life
My memory too easily, with blinding spokes of rhyme.
ABOUT THE POET
LUKE WHITINGTON lived in Italy for nearly twenty years, restoring Medieval structures in Umbria and Tuscany. He continued this work in Ireland, restoring the Norman castle of Portlick at Lough Ree. He founded the multimedia gallery Pleasants Factory in Dublin, which supported artists and writers for seven years. Luke’s poems have been published in literary supplements and anthologies in Dublin and Westmeath. In Australia, Luke’s poetry has appeared three times in the Henry Kendall Award anthology and has been accepted by Quadrant, The Sydney Morning Herald and the Five Bells anthology. He has read poetry written for art in galleries at Cessnock, Bowral, Pearl Beach and the Charles Cecil Atelier Art School in Florence. He resides on the Central Coast with frequent visits to Canberra, Ireland and Renaissance Italy.