new zealand electronic poetry centre

Michael Harlow

online works


Ars Moriendi

You know when to arrive:
The moment hands clap, stars
Sound in the white room
You are given a name, then another
And another, already
You have a beginning, a middle
And an end.

Now, you are on the way
To where you are going; opening
And closing doors, dreaming
Before the mirror, leaning quietly
Against the bodies of trees.

You listen to the sounds
Of your body; of course, there is
An intimacy one hears inside a word:
You call it your own
Even if you are stunned
When the conversation is broken into
For the last time

Always the same sentence
Discovered at the full stop:
You say, ‘We have to learn to be air’
Even if you are in love with gravity,
And would like to continue
In a straight line.

From Giotto’s Elephant (John McIndoe, 1991)
Michael Harlow

Last updated 24 March, 2005