Up the green hill
Graham Pope (University of Wollongong, Australia)
I was aware, of course, of the shape of myself, not because beneath my weight there formed a footprint – a thing left behind, but because of once noticing my shoes stepping one in front of the other on paving stone – that illusion of the variety of outline. Where through the scuff and stumble comes a memory of sound echoed and thin between silences.
I was aware, of course, of the shape of myself, not because of the quality of her external form and contour proportionate in all points, but because of the stutter of her shoulders as I passed her by. I paused to notice her, without speaking – perhaps I was staring – as she leaned to one side and with effort, as if stepping into her own long hair continued on her way. Again I hear the memory of that sound in my ears, like the beating thin of golden sun.
I was aware, of course, of the shape of myself, not because of the hackneyed phrase of flower and stem, leaf and branch, rock and river; but because of the lines of outline – the sum of which forming a contour of my displacement of what surrounds me. To end up in a vision of embrace that morphs and shivers and shudders with a delirium that mirrors only. My hand is turning the doorknob and upon entering the cool darkness of the inside that momentarily blinds and causes me to pause and take stock. Here is silence rather than absence of sound; here shapes move as shadows disintegrating into one another; here I find comfort in my own untangling from the will of holding myself together.
I was aware, of course, of the shape of myself, not because here in the darkness as my mind turns over untilled soil, or my fingers dig into root and discovers old bone, but because of the creaking of a hinge somewhere on the floor above or perhaps it is the memory of that sound. And as I listen I know the source, but in spite of the glittering of that left behind, I am unable to pick up her gypsy pieces, stuff them into my mouth and make her whole again. Instead I drift away as an old man who is smoke going for a walk on a cold morning, climbing up from the valley, up the green hill.
Graham Pope is a Creative Writing PhD student at the University of Wollongong. As well as poetry he also writes prose fiction and his first novel Kasia from Honey Street is being released in September 2012. Graham currently teaches English in Vietnam.