Two poems by Judith Wright
Only those coral insects live
that work and endure under
the breaker’s cold, continual thunder.
They are the quick of the reef
that rots and crumbles in a calmer water.
Only those men survive
who dare to hold their love against the world;
who dare to live and doubt what they are told.
They are the quick of life;
their faith is insolence; joyful is their grief.
This is life’s promise and accomplishment –
a fraction-foothold taken.
Where dark, eroding seas had broken,
the quick, the sensitive, the lover,
the passionate touch and intergrowth of living.
Alive, alive, intent,
love rises on the crumbling shells it shed.
The strata of the dead
burst with the plumes and passions of the earth.
Seed falls there now, birds build, and life takes over.
Woman to Child
You who were darkness warmed my flesh
where out of darkness rose the seed.
Then all a world I made in me;
all the world you hear and see
hung upon my dreaming blood.
There moved the multitudinous stars,
and coloured birds and fishes moved.
There swam the sliding continents.
All time lay rolled in me, and sense,
and love that knew not its beloved.
O node and focus of the world;
I hold you deep within that well
you shall escape and not escape –
that mirrors still your sleeping shape;
that nurtures still your crescent cell.
I wither and you break from me;
yet though you dance in living light
I am the earth, I am the root,
I am the stem that fed the fruit,
the link that joins you to the night.