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Michele Leggott
7 POEMS FROM DIA (Auckland University Press. 1994)

h o n e y b e e


Apex you'll come to one fine morning

set with that breakfast milk on the island steps

a full feast of fresh air under your belt

it's a small island, turtle in the channel

rare for the latitude, the islanders touchy

about a fragile domestic economy  Two

of them bang away at an extension to the house

dreamed up last night and being paid for

in green dollars  The friday night pizzas

are legendary if you know which boat to get 

and there on the rockface is the aretalogers sign

sans  me  fatiguer  ni  de  jour  ni  de  nuit-

a little dairy factory by the name of Isis Lactans

pumping out soft cheeses of a truely divine nature


We could all go some more could go down

for it ourselves and come back on the Cream Run

one quay at a time, mangos bagels wisdom

from the markets where you lean on one elbow 

after making love and begin to make

the universe dooby doux to a tune that suits

your ripening sense of history

Going out for the makings, staying in to eat

mouth to mouth, why was it lost most

when we needed that contagion in the telling?

There is still the special place on her head

where they touch her for more of the story

while back in bed a sleep of hands and hearts 

is airing nectar in all the generous mouths


How beautiful in jandels o prince's daughter

the motive bones of your finely dusted feet

on the road to the cape and back

many summers past small clips of paradise

In the dark doorway the Fire Chief, a stir

of silver buttons and a ceremonial axe

as he walks into the picture again  His are the gifts

you are learning to take from the ballerina plate

piled high between you in all of his houses

sometimes the regalia signifies, sometimes

it's just a couple of beers over lunch

watching your seventeen-year-old self descend

from the tree with the big nest of epiphytic lillies

to where he's waiting saying : Let's  go,  princess 


To the north of paradise a high summer moon

at four in the morning and I call out 

the song of your body in the light of what is 

before me  I know the precedents I'm looking for 

the wise fire of intelligence in a body

that wants to metabolise lightning  I want

to get to the vineyard the river the mountain

the city and the sea undivided by your attentions

then I want to hammer out gamos everywhere

among the beautiful appetising trees of those places

So I get up in the dark and you call  Hey excelsa

your salty shoulder first, sweet nicotiana next

but most from the open window to this wide bed

white scent from the tree of flowers And sleep?    


Schluck-schluck perfect mind at work

on perfect body at the confluence of two rivers

called Melilot and stamp  What a day

it's been salmon in the daypack at four thousand feet

high dives and honeypots into those piscine deeps

and a sweet precision of vocables throughout -

We've got it all as the islanders say, the ins and outs

the ups and downs, the map of the world

on the bedroom floor lost fo  so long, for so long

passed off as a hand to mouth myth among

painters who travelled the length of the country

to be close to its source  Look, the confluence

of  two rivers, the deep relief of the map traversed

hop skip jump and free fall into the art of love


Apices that melt you femina climbing

the steps temple days and others minding

children or hanging out the sheets  How

transport is a word among vines -

excelsa and two young roe looking on

Carmel  Who would not forget her clear voice

remaking paradox as the shadow - hunt closes in

on the fabulous slopes of ellipsis :

And I light hearers to you  There she is

swallowed the sun and gives it back

each morning in the bright window she's there

on the tip of your tongue her bees working

the red flowers that take you from the vine to fire

as she contemplates another shift in the pronouns:


I am the boat of heaven rocking outside

the orbit of the moon and the orbit of the sun

I am the dancer on the plate the one in blue

with a honey stomach full of delectable lies

I am the diver and the baker rolling over

and over in the dry grass which is most like rain

I am the parabola, a crural bow strung

across the single point of my dripping ascent

I am the eater of trees, the drinker of sense

and my name is the crown of a blue eye rising

I learned to write these languages  It is my kiss

on your mouth and there must be no fault

in the transmission I am before you, I look

after you, I am a slow boat rocking everything

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Copyright Michele Leggott

published with permission of the Poet.

All rights reserved