no better, no worse, no change, no pain

malouf and music

In Music, Poetry on March 28, 2010 at 5:47 pm

This afternoon I was lucky enough to experience a sublime collaboration between poet and percussionist at The Con Open Day. This Landscape – Performers and Creators combined the poetry of award-winning author, David Malouf, with Daryl Pratt’s solo percussion music.

Poems, such as “Stooping to Drink” were brought to life by the textures and rhythms of Pratt’s compositions. The music resonates with the lyricism of language. The imagery is vivid.

Stooping to Drink

by David Malouf, 1992

Smelling the sweet grass
of distant hills, too steep
to climb, too far to see
in this handful of water
scooped from the river dam.

Touching the sky where like
a single wing my hand
dips through clouds. Tasting
the shadow of basket-willows,
the colour of ferns.

A perch, spoon-coloured, climbs
where the moon sank, trailing
bubbles of white,
and school kids on picnics
swing from a rope — head

over sunlit heels like angels
they plunge into the sun
at midday, into silence
of pinewoods hanging over
a sunken hill-farm.

Taking all this in
at the lips, holding it
in the cup of the hand.
And further down the hiss
of volcanoes, rockfall

and hot metals cooling
in blueblack depths a hundred
centuries back.
Taking all this in
as the water takes it: sky

sunlight, sweet grass-flavours
and the long-held breath
of children — a landscape
mirrored, held a moment,
and let go again.


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