Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sybilline


That rabbit’s foot I carried in my left pocket
Has worn a haemorrhage in the lining
The bunch of keys I carry with it
Jingles like fate in my omphagic ear
And when I stepped clear of the solid basalt
The introverted obelisk of night
I seized upon this Traumdeutung as a sword
To hew a passage to my love.


And now out of life, permanent revenant
I assert: the caterpillar feet
Of these predictions lead nowhere,
It is necessary to understand
That a poet may not exist, that his writings
Are the incomplete circle and straight drop
Of a question mark
And yet I know I shall be raised up
On the vertical banners of praise.

The rabbit’s foot of fur and claw
Taps on the drain-pipe. In the alley
The children throw a ball against
Their future walls. The evening
Settles down like a brooding bird
Over streets that divide our life like a trauma
Would it be strange now to meet
The figure that strode hell swinging
His head by the hair
On Princess Street?

 - Ern Malley

("Ernest Lalor Malley was born in Liverpool in 1918 and migrated to Australia as a child with his parents and his older sister, Ethel. His father died in 1920 and, after his mother's death in 1933, Malley lived alone in Sydney, working as an insurance salesman. His life as a poet became known only after his premature death at the age of 25 from Graves' disease, in May 1943, when Ethel found a pile of unpublished poems among his belongings." - wikipedia)