Poems by Angela Gardner
The Told World
A day of vision — fields bound by rain,
in unaffected shanties not merely human:
birds moving out to the open.
And what’s to be done with the hexbolt
and stop-action, when absent more gently
— isn’t it meaningless or not quite truthful?
Compare our three hundred days of sunshine
or morning wordless : your hand, that
operates so delicately in complicit grounds.
It is a period of exile
with its pivotal shot, impartial of shadow,
and light that frames the narrow window,
to stand disproportionate in daylight
and perfect avoidance, the told-world,
thin as celluloid, we risk at every step.
A prospect — I lose belief!
While we are apart,
there is comfort in blades of muscle
and bone. How could there not?
Alert to a whole repertoire of touch,
away from all necessary politeness.
So fall the blows, the big ugly voices,
covered only in darkness and singing.
The birds fly back. Somehow they give
no inkling of survival.
The shadow of a bird flew past —
a brief darkening.
I thought you had
and then I wasn’t sure
… for every reason
the oxygenated blood’s welling
bright and asymmetric
a feather, a sonic of sunlight.
The weight of a soul
the weight of a feather
lifted from this shared atlas
this cage of branches,
in opened space that sometimes
I see clearly through.
Altogether too responsive
the sky bare against the body
unable to write even the shadow
of a bird against air.
vast — the whole bright
yet under, the tree’s dark
green edible leaf
we work like birds turning
over the soft fruit — piercing
it is no consolation mother
to sweeten my mouth
your arms are evening
clad the sky undone
Above — the huntsman
blunder his gentleman
their dogs to a mechanical hare
their wide agencies of data
of our small tasks
of sanctuary — withheld
“Featherweight” was first published by light-trap press as an artist book for The Hankie project, Barratt Galleries, Alstonville, New South Wales, 18 June–23 July 2010; Grafton Regional Gallery, January 2011; and Napier Gallery Melbourne, August 2011.