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June 01st 2009 print

Christine Paice

Into the Valley; Head Space


Into The Valley

I stroked this feathery infinite thing

across paddocks close boned with the shining flanks of cows

the centre of my world a rusting chair

perched over tufts of wild blown grass

my body cold in night’s dark corners

three horses stood with windswept manes

necking for pleasure in moonlight

their elegant legs and fancy longhaired hooves

merging into nothing not one thing

as they twitched and trembled out of sight

inside a simple ball rolled from the hands of my son

frightened by beasts whose hooves thundered in his dream

further out a dead white tree standing

in eternity and in its words and cries

I heard the language of the dead

the way their lips could not move

the way their dreams spilled like water

over never ending grass into morning

into feathers into space

into the cold sides of a rusting chair.

Head Space

I have a tendency to float

without my head

like a stalk without a flower

winnowing over a ledge

sometimes my head

bobs up over the back

of chairs at parties and

someone throws it a grape

or I introduce it casually

oh yes and this is my head

and what do you do?

well I normally sit on a neck

for days at a time

but I’m going it alone

for the time being

I turn to shut myself up

forgetting I am headless

and my mouth is somewhere

I’m not—it’s times like this

I fancy a drink.