a humid December night in Sydney.
at a quarter to twelve,
surrounded by champagne glasses,
I read a poem by Wendell Berry.
soon, startling colours will
burst across the sparkling harbour.
this year, though,
there is smoke in every hue,
wormwood in every vintage,
a rift in every resolution.
the pastor, friend, who loved these nights
is gone, a melanoma seeding
savagery throughout his body.
years ago it was a cooler night
and we wrapped ourselves in blankets,
like jocular monks
strolling to evening vespers,
posing for the photographs
I still have in my mind.
we laughed at life, for we were young,
and the years spread out before us
like boxes and boxes
of carefully crafted sermons.
for four months
we had prayed for him at every meal,
that kindness find a shelter from the pain,
that grace keep goodness free
a little longer.
but Berry's poem is true;
the faultlines run so deep
in this malignant world.
tonight across the light bathed harbour
fun buds eternal in every youthful mind.
a new year is a new beginning, but,
I cling on to my fashioned faith in love,
a divine gesture that will rescue us
while leading down the flinty road he trod.
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