Image by Reg Graham

The child in the gardens: winter

Vincent O'Sullivan


The child in the gardens: winter

Vincent O'Sullivan


The child in the gardens: winter

The child in the gardens: winter

How sudden, this entering the fallen
gardens for the first time, to feel the blisters
of the world's father, as his own hand
does. It is everything dying at once,
the slimed pond and the riffling of leaves,
shoes drenched across sapless stalks.
It is what you will read a thousand times.
You will come to think, who has not stood
there, holding that large hand, not said
Can't we go back? I don't like this place.
Your voice sounds like someone else's. You
rub a sleeve against your cheek, you want
him to laugh, to say, 'The early stars can't hurt
us, they are further than trains we hear
on the clearest of nights.' We are in a story
called Father, We Must Get Out.
Leaves scritch at the red walls,
a stone lady lies near the pond, eating
dirty grass. It is too sudden, this
walking into time for its first lesson,
its brown wind, its scummed nasty
paths. You know how lovely yellow
is your favourite colour, the kitchen at home.
You touch the big gates as you leave,
the trees stand on their bones, the shoulders
on the vandaled statue are huge cold
eggs. Nothing there wants to move.
You touch the gates and tell them, We
are not coming back to this place. Are we, Dad?


from Nice Morning for It, Adam (Victoria University Press, 2004), © Vincent O'Sullivan 2004, used by permission of the author.

Recordings

Vincent O'Sullivan Reading from his Poems

1Blame Vermeer

2Small Talk

3Blonde Ink

4Seeing you Asked

5Check-up

6The Grieving Process

7July, July

8Saying Begins It

9In Time of Thanks and Praise

10The Child in the Gardens: Winter

11Child playing drafts

12River road, due south

13Simply

14The monastic life

15Right on

16Elegy: again

17Dark night on the lake

18That's the story

19Talking of stone

20Not one to let on

21A dream of my father, winding our watches together

22Goldilocks - off the scale

23Being here

24Late praise for Nurse Smythe

25The Case Against...

26No Time for Portents

271919

28Witness 217

Books & cds by Vincent O'Sullivan