The moon rolls over the roof and falls behind
my house, and the moon does neither of these things,
I am talking about myself.

It's not possible to get off to sleep or
the subject or the planet, nor to think thoughts.
Better barefoot it out the front

door and lean from the porch across the privets
and the palms into the washed-out creation,
a dark place with two particular

bright clouds dusted (query) by the moon, one's mine
the other's an adversary, which may depend
on the wind, or something.

A long moment stretches, the next one is not
on time. Not unaccountably the chill of
the planking underfoot rises

in the throat, for its part the night sky empties
the whole of its contents down. Turn on a bare
heel, close the door behind

on the author, cringing demiurge, who picks up
his litter and his tools and paces me back
to bed, stealthily in step.

from Early Days Yet: New and Collected Poems 1941-1997 (Carcanet, 1997), copyright © Allen Curnow 1997, used by permission of Tim Curnow.


Allen Curnow

Allen Curnow Reading from his poems


2Do Not Touch the Exhibits


4A Raised Voice

5A Time of Day


7A Sight for Sore Eyes

8Blind Man's Holiday

9Gare SNCF Garavan

10Things to Do with Moonlight

11You Will Know When You Get There

12A Passion for Travel

13Ten Steps to the Sea

14The Bells of Saint Babel's

15The Pocket Compass

16For Peter Porter at Seventy

17Fantasia and fugue for Pan-pipe