Thursday, February 9, 2017

James Walton #34 Last Seen Alive, at Canakkale

How simple in the end: to smell the vinegar of an infant’s head
this blink: how different to the beginning,
when the whole world collapses to a baby’s cry.
Know the pomegranate cheated with hibiscus flowers,
and siren ficifolia recruited by marooned stars
falling in an aureole of shell bursts

(the blue mosque unseen, the famous river past the cliché of artists,
but we couldn’t elude the haunt of gum leaves
languidly revolving in their own smell.
I wanted to be the fat magpie lolloping in the greed of water,
while silver eyes so jealously wait their turn)

Crusader’s foolish pose of vigil down on Dardanelles steps
sighted by Hellespont drowning, this slow ebb of nationality
is more than alien imperial tales adjudicating the division of souls.
Sand absorbs the running of memory those ripple lines of being,
lapping anthems to the billeting stanza

(so near that silly point my fingertips could touch you my enemy
our embarking coronas entwined like lovers,
now that we understand all the secrets
who ever thought of the stop over pyramids
and these trenches in such willing stupidity)

There is space in my sigh for us all.

Too scarce now to want to be visible,
sear my heart into the banksia - my old nose the wasted cone
that stubs the unwary toe.
Our sun had always wanted me a familiar smudge in any landscape,
captured in stained glass federation
the cuckoo shrike shatters the gargoyles,
breaches all callistemon flying buttresses

(I know your name, I know your name).


  1. Indeed, lost in translation rewrites.

  2. Ah James, that is marvelous. I presume (forgive me) that someone in your family perished in that conflict, and that you, revisiting the site, in some way partook of his death, that somehow you are resurrected by that memory - as the reader of this poem can noe share that too. Quite a feat. Well done.


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