Friday, September 9, 2011

Lines from An Imaginary Life


Recently, while reading David Malouf's An Imaginary Life, I stumbled across the following passage, which I plucked from an awfully long paragraph & recast, with a couple of quick fixes, as a poem.  The ending may lean a tad to the unimaginative, but overall, I give it two imaginary thumbs up:


We are preparing to shut ourselves in.
Against the horsemen from the north,
who will surely appear again
as the river freezes & against the wolves.

 In each of us there is this sense of withdrawal
into ourselves, this retirement
into the body’s secret
light & warmth, out of the coming cold; this moving

further into some deep inner self that must remain
untouched by the closeness that will be forced
upon us in these winter months, when first
the town is shut up, then our houses . . .

We will spend days & nights equally
huddled together above
the one peat stone in the big central room

over the byre. Winter here is a time

of slow smoldering resentments, of suspicions,
of fantasies that grow as days move deeper
in the year’s darkness & cold
drives us closer together, yet further apart.

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