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David Barnes
Perth AUS


Light, sunlight spits, splits
in disorderliness,
to the upsurge of the roof above
this catherdral enclave
scales glint...
rainbows, colour
in sapphire waters;

This is the kingdom,
and I float, suspended in heaven,
cut off
from the world
golden, setting skies:

Such brilliance
captivates my soul,
reef fish dance under my feet.
Circles of leadlight
gracefully encircle me,
filling my heart...

spell bound,
I see within me my fathers father,
and his father,

and I,

I am the ocean,
calm before the storm,
the reef,
Great Barrier Reef, dying,
on bones of ages past,


Aroma of grass

Until I reclined
in summers warmth,
aroused by the fragrance
of fresh cut grass,
blades peircing into my flesh;
I didn't believe
I was going back home from the hospice--
back stricken
from the conflict
of the surgeons scapel:
I started to rise
but the weight of the sun
flaunted my weakness,
Drunkenly I climbed the hilltop
like a child, wrapped
in the sweet fragrance of grass.


Today I saw Picasso
in my kitchen;
he glanced at me mournfully,
a sinister, jaded green, stark within the frame
on my wall,
thin, gaunt, haunted,
hauting eyes frail flesh, skin on bone.

So much grief
                    Cleaved to canvas.

Did he ever understand,
the impression he would leave-
that millions would pass

Through colours
                    into his world, of worlds within.

His gaze left me
somehow, a work of art,
                    ready to dry out,
                    deteriorating with age.

I deduce one day,
my son will say of the picture
he holds of me,
my flesh, skin on bone, was pastel,
not jaded green.

and in my passing, I was no Picasso.

Copyright David Barnes 2001
published with poets permission
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