26 November 2012

"On Possessing the Burns Fellowship 1966," James K. Baxter

Trees move slowly.  The rain drops arrows
As on the Spartans from the Persian bowstring
Some while ago, across the tennis court
Behind the convent they hope to pull down,

And I who wrote in '62,
Dear ghosts, let me abandon
What cannot be held against
Hangmen and educators, the city of youth! -

Drink fresh percolated coffee, lounging
In the new house, at the flash red kitchen table,
A Varsity person, with an office
Just around the corner - what nonsense!

If there is any culture here
It comes from the black south wind
Howling above the factories
A handsbreadth from Antarctica,

Whatever the architect and planner
Least understand - not impossibly the voice
Of an oracle rising from that
Old battered green veranda

Beyond the board fence: a blood transfusion
From the earth's thick veins!  As if
Caesar had died, and clouds, leaves, conspired to make
A dark mocking funeral wreath.

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