Australian National University


David Jory


Holy Water (to John Muk Muk Burke)

It is impossible to say just what I mean!
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen.



The writing begins.

She is the ocean.
Taking me
leaving me
a grain of sand.

The writing wavers.

The day grows old, but her shine
does not pass away.
And with each passing day
she shines stronger.

If a wearying hand writes
it debases the beauty,
that beauty
it works to relay.

The lines I put to history,
they stand in history's way.
My lines
are not history.

My lines are not hers.

The lines she emits surrender
my mind, the lines she traverses
surrender my body.
All is surrendered to her spiralling will

except my eyes,
which are left pouched on the shore
to study her flow from afar.
And my hands;

only one can write.
Let me use this respite, then.
Let me use it
to loosen the anchors of rusted lines.



A paper boat I make
from paper words.
My unfinished words sail into her reality
and become life.

In thanks, she throws up my mind and body,
a solitary shell,
retrieved and carried to the box
where I live.

With each passing day,
by holy ritual,
the shell's lips part
in my ear.

With each passing day I hear death's silent whisper wrap around the boat.

With each passing day
she grows louder.
One day
her voice remains and

I tear apart the polished windows
of my box:
step forward
into the outgoing tide below.



Under sparkling sheets of glass
my hands collapse into sand,
my eyes see no more,
for they too collapse.

My shell is gone.

I am not even
a pair of ragged claws
scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
I am the floors.

In my absence I am infinite,
her heaving work of art.
In its final sinking breath
my will has inhaled freedom.

In darkness,
as darkness,
I hear her cold and thrilling touch
turning me
and saying,
"My entire truth mistaken
gapes from your black ink hole,
Take it again.
This pulsing hand.
These pulsing lines."


David Jory was born in Brisbane in 1981. He now lives in Canberra and is completing Honours in Philosophy at the Australian National University. He enjoys the awe that passionate poetry brings to the world.


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Vol 7 No 2 October 2003
Editors: Nigel Krauth & Tess Brady