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Sport 2: Autumn 1989

Dinah Hawken

page 50

Dinah Hawken

The harbour is hallucinating. It is rising
above itself, halfway up the great
blue hills. Every leaf of the kohuhu
is shining. Cicadas, this must be the day
of all days, the one around which
all the others are bound to gather.

The blue agapanthus, the yellow fennel, the white
butterfly, the blue harbour, the golden grass,
the white verandah post, the blue hills, the yellow
leaves, the white clouds, the blue
book, the yellow envelope, the white paper.
Here is the green verb, releasing everything.

Imagine behind these lines dozens and dozens
of tiny seed-heads whispering. They are a field
of mauve flowers. What they say is inexplicable
to us because they speak another language, not this one
written from left to right across them, made up of
distinct and very subtle, ready-to-burgeon sounds.

We need words to take us towards what words
reveal. But if words are ripped from their roots,
lose truth or become unloveable, how can we take their lift toward
what they could gracefully offer. Take fuck,
for example. Take intercourse. Take Him,
the all-powerful, single-minded, single-sexed god.

page 51

Having broken the argument down and down
we come to a place in the text — a clearing —
where a man and a woman have unexpectedly met.
We have been led to believe, remember, that one
will take advantage of the other, as we have been led
to believe that there is only one God.

How odd that there is no name for the place
above the poet's lovely upper lip
where fine stubble grows. He is wondering,
as his fingertips flicker across it, and as he
deftly clenches his broad brow, what else he can
say to his kind father and his kind uncles.

The plumbers have come. They're ripping iron off the roof.
They're tramping over her head with hammers.
Another hammer is sounding out in the valley,
striking a different material, a different note.
Inside she is living the oldest side of love, wiping soft
shit from the soft cracks of his little bum.

To examine her right breast with radiation
they are clamping it under pressure in a vice.
She wonders how on earth she let this happen.
And she let a stranger pierce her breast with a needle.
It's time to let herself sound out the longing,
and the knowledge in her soul of another way.

page 52

The path she's on is deserted. So is yours.
So are all the others which is wonderful.
To meet you'll have to wander off into the dense
bush where vines hang and soft ferns and mosses
cover the uneven ground. You won't know whose territory
you're in — if the wild-life's at home, or at large, there.

She's the fissure, the source where no-one has been,
the secret to be discovered. She may be too generous
for you, and too ruthless. Too fruitful, too fierce,
too gentle, too precise, too sensual, too naive. Of course
she hasn't let you in. She can't. There's a collage of passwords
to be found and learned and loved and spoken.

She is in an empty room. A curved bay window
fills a whole wall and each blind is drawn.
She has no clothes on her body. You are naked too.
Being sensual and strong and straightforward, you can
kiss her left breast, and then the rest
of her body while she — irrepressible — is exploring yours.

Turned away from the lecture on sexual economics
she goes down into the sexual garden, under its dark spread
and into its detail: ecstatically branching magnolia, tuberous
roots thrusting up huge leaves. Fuck the tulips in their damned
obedient rows. Stop. They're finally opening their throats!
They have dark purple stars! They have stigma! They have style!