Chris Wallace-Crabbe




Over the steady, littoral ground bass one sees that

our ocean has four natty trims of lace.

Container ships go by like rectangles.

Cars down there are barely awake.


                    … be still now


Wren and honeyeater pay visits on occasion to

the outrageously national agapanthus,

surely a weed, though, in its near-violet profusion.

Sun butters at least selective bluegum trunks while

birds around are speaking myriad languages,

most of them urgently:

one sounds a keen mechanical bell, to what end?


                    … try to stay calm


Holiday houses still have chains across the drive.


                    … chains?


Acoustically, cockies tear their sheets of steel

when they’re not competing for bird-table preference.

But look down the bosky slope, now:

a few more sedans trace the S-bend and small bridge

on their way to some other bay

where the foreshore has also been colonized

by a million toothy dandelions;

big cats live somewhere else again.     


                    … be still, my heart.


Remorseless bass of big surf carries on.






Meditative on a brown park bench

at the top end of, was it? Hampstead Heath

in a colourful shower of ladybirds

I caught up the poet’s canny division:

ways of butterfly, ways of hawk

but how that sliced at an angle across

private polarity in fox and hedgehog,

his version at the unlikely least

native to this ochre land of ours,

whatever earthly ours my mean

and how we jink between polarities.


Evening’s extended mattress now,

its burnt orange slumbers all along

the sea’s grey sill. Nearer to hand

seven surfers are continuing

to provide their black punctuation,

rescuing waves from silvery repetition.

Inside the no there always remains a yes


and everything depends on yes.





Disembodied Agent


I don’t know what to do about spirit,

An eternally colourless force,

Neither substantial nor airy:

Charged with great value of course.


It will not show up in that photo

Nor offer you an advance;

You can’t hide the stuff in a handbag,

Nor down the front of your pants.


It could be a little like rhythm

And must be infernally tough;

Just murmuring Buddhist or Moslem

Won’t show up its colours enough.


There’s a little to do with religion:

Morality’s part of its game,

And maintaining the nurture of nature

Without being randy for fame.


Now, I like to be friendly to spirit,

Which can have a warm rug in the hall

Or even behind the computer:

It just doesn’t bug me at all


Except that it does, like hay fever,

Exhaled by a putative god.

It’s a species of subtle schoolmaster

Who rules without using the rod.