States of Poetry 2016 - New South Wales | 'Terms of Endearment' by David Malouf

Sweet nothings in our ear
   cherub   pumpkin   dearest chuck
but to the heart   which is the better
     listener   the password
to a tongue that only two in their comings
         and goings have access to

     A blessed mouthful

   Drawn from a stream that is forever
       fresh   and on our lips forever
         true   however
                   casually we call
upon it to speak for what we have no other
                         words for

                  What we catch
       at a glance   or in a breathless
                   what catches
         us   at the first


David Malouf