a still life in red


Matthew Hall is a doctoral candidate at the University of Western Australia. His poetry, prose and criticism is featured in journals around the world. 

Matthew Hall

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