RAYMOND F. SMITH
"ALL POOLS ARE DEFINABLY SMALL, NEXT TO AN OCEAN"
“All pools are definably small, next to an Ocean”
“I’m sorry. Because it is only possible to think in clichés when…”
Philip Hodgins, Australian poet (1959-1995)
1) I am not sorry
that I no longer think
in someone else’s clichés
or purport to walk a mile
and smile in their old shoes.
2) Before I meet you face-to-face
we both floated in a communal pool
of pinching, small-comfort lies.
Or was it a tepid pool of crass verbiage?
Sweet small talk in a small pool?
3) Please respect that there are spirits in this place.
They invade one’s fancy.
They dance in the night while we and the cities sleep.
What then of the jaded opinions
I bring from the city?
What of our chatter-duel of clever phrases
that do not cease before night-fall?
4) Perhaps we need to memorise our scripts
before plunging into the pool of commonality,
floating with the clipped phrases that don’t survive remembering.
5) Dissolving deceit, distortion and discontent
requires an ocean, not a momentary pool.
6) For now, let us be content to hold each other,
to hold each other’s head above water.
Is it no surprise that I did not win a prize
when the size of the sky was still larger than the pie on offer.
Meanwhile the poet's loud dog howled in the yard
louder than Ginsberg on his 6th gin,
hurried, harried, and late for another appearance.
Blessed are those who sat once-upon-a-time
at the feet of a prophet on fire
and heard one great man orate on an orange crate
to the applause of noble and keen hearers.
“‘I-Thou’ stilled in a flash”
‘all dialogues are now fully grounded’
You were searching, searching
for even a single bone of truth
but settled instead for mere hints of explanation
and cold few promises.
No meat now, you stumbled
and still stumble
with stubborn reluctance
and gnawed bones of imagination.
But you knew in morning’s heart
with “flowers gnawed by frost”
that even your gnawed bones of love
may still be ground
into fertiliser and the rich imaginings
of new love.
Even the unborn
are still part of our reckoning.
Where once there was ample breath
and breathless imaginings
you are left instead with feint fancies,
fretful pallid inspirations -
of lives that could have been.
What then grinds the hard bones of your heart
into white powder,
still short of new imaginings?
Now you fear that even’ prayers
will see nay the light of day.
Born in Yonkers, New York in 1940, former semiotics lecturer and has lived in Tempe, Sydney for over four decades.