on June 19, 2005
This is a superb box set and showcases songwriting as elegantly economic and sincere as lazy Jane's art. The keynote of great art is sincerity and that's what resonates here. Oh yes, "She will have a boy tonight"! The subject of the cover art is the breathtaking Thea Martin. I wrote this for her:
Not A Poem
(For Thea Rosamund Caromy Martin)
This is not a poem, this a kiss:
Pure joy, pure hope, pure passion between lips:
True God, from true God, pure light from pure light.
Warms you through the night, ends all dreams.
You've always known this kiss exists.
Loves you completely, from the first,
Shares every chimera, every wish when you wake,
Honours your best, forgives your worst;
Loves you at a moment's reconnaissance
of your olive eyes and sizzling lips, cerise;
your finespun frame and golden breast,
wrapped in red-ribbon and jet jacket,
vested in genius wit, in words that tease and strip
to Thea Rosamund Caromy Martin: soul, mate -
sagacious, conscious, correctly proud not to be pathetic
At your worst, you are God's church:
the sinfully rapturous sinews of strength that fit, no, furbish
your summer dress as I walk with you, along the criossette
and cannot hide under your Annie Hall hat
the masterpiece you read in me or the heart in you saying yes
that yeilds to kindness because it is kind and
cannot camouflage with the ice of a gifted mind
your wisdom once unheralded: girlish intuitiveness
that always understood the universe,
in your smile, scent and kittenish purrs;
nor the wisdom won in bloody battles, of the woman exalted:
by the pervading pulse and secret sighs of your soul's home,
you speak the truth alone: melted musical, sprinkled manna;
merry mouth, lovely, salted sores of centuries,
little sugar droplets ceaselessly stirring
while I shiver beneath the cinerous sky,
under the hovering torrent that worked its way inside.
So how could you not notice I am still student?
still convict on last ship to Australia, lying low in soup kitchens with
cats just coolin' to escape college or gallows;
yet, in your visionary grasp, suddenly I've outgrown my in-jokes
to be on quest, mote jueste, for a signature grail
for a word to rub and heal your poor, tired feet,
hammer a nail, sling an axe, bow to bride,
if words such as these are truly more than poetry
to unlock a kingdom's chest or spin the gold of your breast:
not words at all but your kiss in my kiss and, again, your kiss.
all that is me is yours: my reach in rivers overflown
my fingers in your hair, my face in your hands,
my heart thumping hard at your soft, soft centre of self.
This kiss is not a clanging bell, it is music.
This kiss is not an infidel, it is tantric.
This kiss is not science, it is mystic.
This kiss always listens before it speaks.
This kiss is not a patriarch, it is holy spirit.
This kiss is karma: Life giving to life,
goodness giving to goodness, giving back safely all magic and bliss
that began in the moonlight of the Petit Majestic
Is life's rich marrow, yesterday, today and tomorrow:
Slow and serene, it melts but never goes away
This kiss does not possess, does not scream, "Me!",
never asks if its happy. It just is.
This kiss waits peacefully and authentically:
in celebration, the act of love,
without condition, without risk.
© J Harkness 2005