Powerful feelings captured...

Poetry by Hans Brinckmann

In Eurostar, London-Paris

Like shadows of a former self

Deserted villages flit fitfully by

Their church spires rank reminders

Of past acts of ardour, cloaked in faith,

Of devout, unapologetic passion.

Awash we were with energy and adoration

And sensuality we dared call love.

Where are they now, those reckless moments

Of rapturous, guilty innocence?

Where are the whisperings of our worship?

Have they too gone deadly cold

Like those piles of stone, there

Beyond the now leafless trees?

Has time erased what once consumed our souls?

Untended fires flicker, then expire,

Leaving ashes white with evidence.

The spires, empty now of fervent prayer,

Mark memory's horizon like headstones.

We're almost there: at Gare du Nord

All will be wiped, but - like e-mail binned -

Etched onto the hard disk of experience:

Unseen, entombed, forever gone, forever there.


Here he sits

At 55 resolved

To be his own man at last

Unfailingly surprised he is at

The world's wickedness

Not excluding his own:

Annoyed, too, for following

The wrong, well-trodden path

From here he goes

Not mincingly or weak

But full of purpose

Directed at he-knows-not-what

"There must be another vista,

Once I round the corner"

He mumbles, but not audibly

For he is certainly not old

Later, from all the wandering

He falls asleep, still hopeful,

For there is a depth to him

Unfathomed, waiting to be revealed –

Tomorrow morning, no doubt

After coffee and the morning papers,

When nothing will prevent him

From finding his true course

Dreamed poem
(recorded on waking, 1 Feb 2002)

Flaming red torsos

of Olympian skittlers

pushing their puck

Fading in soft focus

without shame or season

Into the icy rigidity

of princely erections

Coolly debating

and flaunting their luck

Living with Absence

Demure and soft of skin

Hair brushed back behind the ears

Expression earnest, posture prim

The mouth plum-like, pursed -

That's how I remember you

In your long skirt, your eyes

Unfocused across the little table -

Like a woman in La Coupole.

The pain of distance already yawning

Negating the lingering intimacy -

I hear myself plead for patience...

Then, emotions bleeding, I am gone.

The light grows dimmer.

Your hand unmoving and alone now

Still loosely holds the teacup's ear.

A sigh. And the hand moves on.

Sunday Idlers Save Sacred Ibis

Sacred ibis glide-landing

on deserted Sydney shopping street

one radiant Sunday morning,

folding wings, strutting, pecking,

his impossibly long bent bill

nosily inspecting piled garbage,

Gets caught in plastic bag

which winds round and round

his swanlike neck, slowly strangling him.

Houdini tricks absent among his options,

the only witnesses a strolling couple

wrapped in tranquil weekend mood.

Roused, resolving action is required

they pursue the ibis who, terrified

scampers limpingly through alley and arcade

stumbling, dragging his smelly noose

till driven into a hopeless corner

and overcome, and finally set free.

Later the couple find him -

criminal returned to his place of crime -

stretching his slender neck longingly

towards the bag that almost killed him:

base desire outflanking experience.

The couple, askance, noble deed devalued

though not the quality of their impulse,

resume their stroll, pondering the thin line

between the sacred and the profane,

between rubbish bin and temple.