My father serves lunch, lifts
the salad with servers, offers
a dish of olives,
the muted light stroking his
hands, head bent as if
in a pew, paler
than I think of him.
On the pergola
above, the leaves of the vines
are ecstatic and lime-bright,
a scribble of veins,
tendrils, shadows - a reminder how light
both clarifies and complicates -
how a simple landscape of skin, let's say,
can become a whole atlas.
Here the x-ray,
there the scan.
pant in the hedge.
He chops bread
and chunks of cheese, lays
one on the other
passes it across the table
to my mother,
his hand a plate. She's feeling
the heat, longs to be cool
inside with a book, is looking
for the vines, for the lean of the tree
beside us, its pollen rising rapidly like small fish
in a vertiginous sea.
The olive dish
is passed around again. My father
onto the grass with his hand. (He asks
the surgeon now and then, 'When it comes
again how will I know?') All this
light and still the incomprehensible
scrabble of things,
the bright falling. Above,
the sky's open palm,
While I was in NZ, staying out at Eastbourne with Mary and her family, rejoicing in the view of Makaro Island, she gave me a copy (number 59/100) of her amazing little book - The Tenderness Of Light. The first book out from her own Makaro Press.
Oh well - it is just a little stunner. One of the poems - After Reading Auden - won the Caselberg Prize two years ago..
Bad luck for you, the book is all sold out. But I have a copy - number 59.
I chose The Landscape because of its tenderness, because of its light.
Details about the book: http://www.mary-mccallum.blogspot.co.nz/2012/03/tuesday-poem-tenderness-of-light-my-new.html
Youtube reading here: http://youtu.be/fYQmikKpT0I