stone rootsStone Roots (1980)

Poems from Stone Roots

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Sometimes I’m in a Garden


Quite early as a child
I understood
flesh was not stone.

Stone sank into flooded paddy beds
children were rescued.
Rubbed dry against jacaranda bark
stone did not graze,
lashed by the first monsoon
it did not crawl into houses
huddle at attic windows
moonfaced in lightning.

Not did it need
to hold its breath
while passing white washed tombs.

There row on row
children are laid
perfectly cold, like stone

While stone
warm as well rinsed flesh
is lit with dimpling milkweed
wreathed in green
rhapsodies of fern.



Sometimes I’m in a Garden

Sometimes I’m in a garden by a tree
whose bark is burning into alphabets

but then I struggle to a waking place
where I must die a little
tell no tales.

I search the crudest discipline of space
a single room in which I am alone
on its concrete walls I trace
a curious alphabet
articulate with flame.

There I pace, gesticulate
and wait.

Its slowly that I’ll find the gate
back to that featureless garden,
slowly taste the blade
scraping my heart’s blood
into poetry




Whichever way I move my palms
the pugnacious scents of jasmine
linger. They say it is a woman’s
flower, this querulous hybrid
trained against the courtyard walls.

Blooms smother the key, rusty
with disuse (her grandfather’s
father melted down the lock).
The vehement groom remembers
a worn horsewhip, ashen gloom.

Stone Roots | 1980 | Poetry, Works & Collaborations
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