Matthew Hall is a doctoral candidate at the University of Western Australia. His poetry, prose and criticism is featured in journals around the world.
Mark me in bronze those whose limits
Are underfoot, the bare turn
ing of earth, of glutted horizons
Matched in the trail of morning dust.
How is it we too are surrounded
By the rust of human affairs
The music of delirious winds
The tone of a compass whose want shall remain
Nameless? And here sacrifice is all our breath
The trodden path whose witness is just
That which we are. A small white stone
Or a point of departure, shifting lament
From cupped hand to cupped hand.
So the flocks call
And the colour deepens
Only now the tacit noise
Supplies its own limits
Sights hold steadily on littoral distances: East, North;
The maps are washed in the murmur of dayfall.
Beyond stills to heavy obliquities
The storm runs pure and the weight
Of stone-fruit colours our hands in distant dreams
The well-heeled pivot
And break of parallels
Towards an end
We can almost touch
Still passages made are levelled in the darkness.
She signs across spring, there is dismay
At the possibility of the season’s growth.
Each pass leads us back to imposed silence
Each plow of the field which stones the crown
What the surface measures
Is a past that has neither
The barren shape of this earth
Nor awareness of its gestures.
As all around us are the fixtures of day’s assent
A chemical warmth pools in standing water.
Doubtless there are others, who listen to the sounds.
Others, who work and do not fear
Their own quickening footfall