Friday 3 April 2015

Togara Muzanenhamo's Gumiguru (Carcanet, 2014)

Here are some favourite passages:

All day the work, shuffling steps into shuffled clearings,
beetles and crickets rising off cordite clicks sparking
off stone, bearded chin sequinned with sweat.

from "In the Music of Labour"

                                                       Silence is not simple,
the road, almost a ritual passage to an evening
         descending on you with a passionate fear.

the end of "Cirrus"

...the dark scream of ghosts
sung wild off the moon's charred, white breath.

the end of "Nagapie"

...the sun hauling amnesia in.

from "Amnesia"

                The wind sings through the grass, parrots rise
from bare trees, yet youth still whispers some reprise
his hunched shadow won't easily surrender or forget.


...the sky nailed wet with stars.

from "Portrait off a Water Trough"

and life, air and nature glowing slow beneath a task
          sung heavy with the golden harvest of smoke.

end of "The Coucal and the Smoker"

Race and power rotating on the axes of money.


                                                                           ...a laughter
reversed--dark as echoes of grief flowering on every lapel.


          ...the Piper's sweet needling flute drawing us to nod
deep into a sparkle where panic raised its jewelled hood
with its black imperious summons, the angered demigod
hypnotically licking time off every sweet layer of the sun
till the brass bell woke us with the gong of its lobed tongue.


                                                 ...the heat at work on the tar,
the city's streets slow and soft with submission.

from "Gates of Dawn"

           It's true, we'd walked through something dark;
and though the sun set like a weeping wound, the stark
nature of our joy drew us up, and almost embarrassed us.

end of "Savannah Chapel"

                                     Sunlight bounced hard
up off the ground, wild fermented fruit sweetening
the heat.

from "The Fig-route"

Each warm draught like the pant of a dog.


     And the nights now are for fear, great gasping fields of darkness without stars--whole hours of quicksand for the dying.


     There was a safety and imagined danger in this game; he stood at the edge of the pool like a machine manufacturing joy as we ran into his arms like components into the assembly line--to be flung into absolute completion, again.


...their poise, a poise of pure ease.


     No weight could question my strength--my hands locked over my father's chest, his back on my stomach, his loose head, as we carried him into the clinic.


Soon, there will be a full moon, and at first it will be blood red as the sun is now, and blunt like the crown of a stillborn.


...having no choice but to trust the dark.


     The buzzards lifted to a dead tree. Monstrous wingspans flapping over new stars and planets. What had I done?

from "Gumiguru"

A weak, sulking rain draws a thin curtain across the lake,

silver gossamer over Norton town.

from "Water"

Pale signatures of dust scrawl the sky, the whispered strokes

vanishing into a blue canvas. 

from "The Reduction"

        The sun a red miserable glow faint with a silence
this season gives, a spiritual silence wet with flying ants staining
        broken glass, the delicate song of rain
singing through broken trusses, up to where pain
              opens its wings to soar through skies quietened by height.

end of "Facsimile of a Quiet Country"

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