Four Anti-ghazals


Heidegger, notes of music
in his name.

The rose blooms because it blooms in the trellis.
A scale of black death because a scale of black death.

Around me, little creakings
of the house. Day's end.

The universe opens. I close.
And open, just to surprise you.

Come loves, little sheep, into
the barricades of the Fall Fair.

Ten white blooms on the sundeck.
The bees have almost all left. It's September.

The women writers, their heads bent under the light,
work late at their kitchen tables.

Winter breathes in the wings of the last hummingbird.
I have lost my passion. I am Ms. Prufrock.

So. So. So. Ah--to have a name like Wah
when the deep purple falls.

And you have sent me a card
with a white peacock spreading its tail.

My loves are dying. Or is it that my love
is dying, day by day, brief life, brief candle,

a flame, flambeau, torch, alive, singing
somewhere in the shadow: Here, this way, here.

Hear the atoms ambling, the genes a-tick
in grandfather's clock, in the old bones of beach.

Sun on the Sunday water in November.
Dead leaves on wet ground. The ferry leaves on time.

Time in your flight--O--a wristwatch strapped
to my heart, ticking erratically, winding down.

Tuned lyre (lyrebird, mynah,
parrot, parakeet, peacock) paradox--

not musical, though the brilliant plumage
variegated for those who do not

sing well, screech, shriek, scream
in the jungle trees--the 'EE' sounds

unlyrical plumage, especially with 's'es.
On the other hand (plucked), sea, see,

or me, thee, three in the thicket,
perfectly musical

and coloured enough, though featherless,
for a kind of flying.

--reprinted from Water and Light
Coach House Press, Toronto

Phyllis Webb

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