Saturday, December 1, 2007

John Tranter

Two Poems For Mr. Stevens


I was of two minds,

like a hotel room
in which there are two people.


I do not know which I prefer,

the beauty of inflections
or the beauty of innuendoes,
her brief glance through the crowd,
or her looking-away.

*First published in Southerly, No. 3

Two Haikus

Yeats at Bondi

Bondi Beach —

that drongo-thronged, that
nong-tormented sea.

Hawaiian Haiku

In Honolulu

nobody watches
‘Hawaii Five-O’.

*First published in Sydney Morning Herald, 1985 & 1991

Small Animal Poem

Okay, there’s room for one

more small animal in my life,
behind the bad future, as long as he
doesn’t complain. His fate will be secret;
I am not to blame.

If you imagine you are not so
lucky today, rehearses the other,
the guilty animal, look at tomorrow —
the good days are gone, in future everything
you do goes wrong,

you will be broken down. But
the new arrival, the blameless
animal, I warn him, is not to know
that his future’s just begun, nor how soon
the damage will be done.

*First published in Overland, No. 74

The People

The people come down from the hills

in the evening. We greet them.
Woodsmoke follows the valley,
it is the quiet time of the year.

We walk with them a short way
for we shall not see them again.
They will pass over the ocean
hoping for nothing, receiving the sky
and we shall continue in the valley
from spring to autumn, planting
and reaping, and in the blue winter night
dreaming of the gentle people who departed.

*First published in Poetry Australia


she wakes into the peach-glow bedroom

like a jet / the orange lips
writhing on the taste of bitter light
the flood-green eyes / exploding hair
(the avalanche of morning from the curtains
sluices white across the sheets)

and, gathering the strength of brightness like a shroud
the burning body rises, limbs depart,
the golden flesh / savaged in the dark / assaults the air!

*First published in Poetry Magazine, No.6

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