Composition for Words and Paint – Fleur Adcock
This darkness has a quality
That poses us in shapes and textures,
One plane behind another,
Flatness in depth.
Your face; a fur of hair; a striped
Curtains behind, and to one side cushions;
Nothing recedes, all lies extended.
I sink upon your image.
I see a soft metallic glint,
A tinsel weave behind the canvas,
Aluminum and bronze beneath the ochre.
There is more in this than we know.
I can imagine drawn around you
A white line, in delicate brush-strokes:
Emphasis; but you do not need it.
You have completeness.
I am not measuring your gestures;
(I have seen you measure those of others,
Know a mind by a hand’s trajectory,
The curve of a lip.)
But you move, and I move towards you,
Draw back you head, and I advance.
I am fixed to the focus of your eyes.
I share your orbit.
Now I discover things about you:
Your thin wrists, a tooth missing;
And how I melt and burn before you.
I have known you always.
The greyness from the long windows
Reduces visual depth; but tactile
Reality defines half-darkness.
My hands prove you solid.
You draw me down upon your body,
Hard arms behind my head.
Darkness and soft colours blur.
We have swallowed the light.
Now I dissolve you in my mouth,
Catch in the corners of my throat
The sly taste of your love, sliding
Into me, singing.
Just as the birds have started singing.
Let them come flying through the windows
With chains of opals around their necks.
We are expecting them.
O'Sullivan, V. (Ed.). (1979). An anthology of twentieth century New Zealand poetry. Wellington: Oxford University Press.