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'Indexing Emily' by Bill Manhire

by
September 2016, no. 384

'Indexing Emily' by Bill Manhire

by
September 2016, no. 384

The dead gaze back across their special days:
cloud above clover, crisis above the crow ...
Such new horizons, yet they still approach.
They know how eclipse and ecstacy edge along together:
whisper and wink of wind, but no real weather.

Between practice and prayer there's always praise.
Mist and mistakes are in the text.
And now here's the night – nobody's next – and poetry
falls from the crucifixion like a crumb, and belief
needs bells, needs bereavement. Bothersome.

Now a feather falls towards March
somehow recalling the snake above the snow.
Everything slows. All those ships
anticipating shipwreck: frigate, little boat.
Brain almost touching the bride. Sweet anecdote.

Can the simple be simplified? Our riches
ride on a riddle: rapture and rainbow
and remaining time. And now all the columns
of Love appear. No word of reproof, no sign
of rage. Love is like Death: it needs to turn the page.

Bill Manhire


Bill Manhire was New Zealand's inaugural Poet Laureate.