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From Toku Tinihanga (Self Deception): Selected Poems 1982-2002 by Michael O'Leary

Sonnet for a child

Such small hands, ten small fingers, I can't see
As they fold like night flowers over my eyes
Covering my view of already dark Dunedin skies
We walk along the city streets your mother, you and me

Up on my shoulders you're higher than the tall
You say that you can see more than all of us
"Look Mum!" you cry, "a train! a truck! a bus!"
Safe with my strength you know you will not fall

Amelia, I know you love me dearly
And I love you who have given me so much
A smile from you has often eased my heavy mind

Such pleasures I have felt with you, I have felt rarely
For I have been long alone, thus out of touch
With simple love: I'd forgotten what I set out to find

I am a stone

I am a poet
I am a stone
The hard rock I am made of
Does not permit growth
The rain falls on me
The wind scours my surface
But I am resolute
Words fly from my weather-worn exterior
Write about it - I can write about it
I am a poet
I am a stone
People come to study what I am made of
And in the past, and in the present
Their conclusions are the same
I remember dancing and . . .
I remember singing
But I can never remember moving
After all, life is movement
Even bacteria moves
   and I can't remember moving
I am a stone

© Michael O'Leary























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