Poem — Jan Kemp

from Two tohunga waiata on one crescent

“Writing is learning how to die” – Ilse Aichinger

 

Purely accidental the addresses were similar
only the street numbers differed
and the minds of the men
and what they said
under the red pohutukawa
umbrellaed across the macadam
collecting the TLS or LRB from one or other letterbox
comparing critiques in the middle of the road

two Antipodean sons puppeteering
from opposite sides
two whip-cracking ring masters
of two particular circuses
each true to his own
“it couldn’t be other”
I hear the wise one whisper

two priests of poetry, two tohunga waiata on one
crescent
incandescing metaphor’s fire
from the rubbed sticks of thought
the poetry out of the poet out of the time
where light sound sight presence
memory vocabulary the flights of a well-read mind
schreiben ist sterben lernen”
we go as we come
coalesce.

 

Jan Kemp

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