EM Healy – Four Poems


Necropolis 1918

They came from the centre surrendering to heroism
We retrieving their light when they no longer can
Remember a time before innocence dreamt itself

Dust on his dungarees mending a rabbit fence
With Sun-kissed stains on his leathered complexion
The tableland sits down to a long afternoon’s lunch

Spinifex settling into the loam above a dingo’s bones
Besides the slit-throat reeds retiring into their bushland brine
Ghost rhizomes slowly probing vegetable memories where

Scones and tea form an endless procession of domestic suns
An inch-worm prophecy settling down to the bottom of
A young private’s name prefigured in a foreign constellation

Where the whistle sounds that magnesium bright moment
Gun-shy generals, gazing up at the grid locked skies
Write his death warrant to be replayed on the band rotunda

Reminding us Saturday is for cricket and Sunday is for God
Tongue-tied it’s enough to just listen to that music
Though we can’t surrender in dance let the band play on


I saw the Boy before they took him away
Dressed in cap and blazer on a Sunday
This time he left without his satchel
Running deeper into the city of God

Past the gates vast blackness beyond
Through membrane’s vibrating shibboleths
Shouts danger-mouth giving hero’s welcome
Into veins of the most high

Up-rushing in his ray-gun gothic chariot
So many rooms in his father’s house
Fleshy pillars in the midst of the temple
Bony knees dangle as the sky rolls

Daring centripetal motion the ground yawns
Knowing entropies blind and fatal forces
As a schoolboy knows well his times-tables
Well enough to know they work

Running skidoo too young for ascension time
Tender gums smile their secret promises
Biting the ether his pomegranates bleed
Into irresistible graces

Fugue-state blues

I visit you in half-way houses
pubic wards or lonely squats
amongst the squalor neat rows
of Star-Wars figurines sit
untouched juvenilia

you my better by fathoms
sensitive penetrating and
nimbler with a skateboard
could charm bellicose angels
five talents to my one

then the debt collector came early
striking in the spiring season
you giving up your treasure
for an untimely exit
retracting the ladder behind

I was there when the lid fell
in through your mind hole
a drooling corpulence shuffles
behind 15 years of antipsychotics
resignation and decline

afterwards we read this in your entrails:
‘The boy who knew to much’
yet your memory’s still sharper today
recalling a distant conversation
I plagiarised from a Hare Krishna:

“Do you remember when you said, that every moment
is an eternity, that can be divided infinitely, and this a
chance of transcendence. It doesn’t matter what we have
been or will be but what eternally now is”

how could I refute such heresy?
its irony could not elude me
when time has winnowed our youth
leaving behind a ward of the state
such high hopes in that come down

for what do I know of the mysteries?
what, ‘eye hath not seen, nor ear heard’
of that bloody Galilean triumphant
Its symbol marching beyond time
in this time before eternity

And how can I speak of this blood?
sprinkled at the world’s foundation
atoning for what just men
stumble at and could never do
impotent to forgive themselves

what could I say of this faith?
of an empty tomb in a garden
a black ark flanked by angels
where men are born in the dark
itself a place of decision

no longer boys with a skateboard
so cannot share my recent decent
nor the miracle of regeneration
an eternal now has no taste or power
for recapitulating our wounds

In this cosmic priesthood presides

the moldering kipple
the cracking alabaster
the seething foam

entropy’s child – a cold infinite expansion
its countless gosh iterations
recalling grim thanatos
lord of shadows

silent mementos – memento mori

that incense we raised by the setting sun
is but ashen remnant

Φῶς Ἱλαρόν

what strong hand might militate against
this ceaseless ebbing

and usher in the reign of peace
its finger a symbol
points beyond

pray we a good and acceptable answer at the dreadful
and fearful judgment

that Thou blow your cool sweet breath upon us
and extinguish that fierce blood
which feeds imploding stars
who make their final stand
on that final day

who shall never walk through the threshold terror?
and gaze upon a stone of crystal-clear jasper
or undergo that serial ordeal
four Living Creatures and The Twenty-four Elders
an infinity of eyes in wonder and awe

then we will begin to sing
and unlock this dying world
from the antinomies of the uncreate
Lord of Hosts – give us a word
Awakening this dead world with a song

© E M Healy 2013