a cappella

In the yellow street lights of youth
I knew you though we hadn’t met.
You were there where I couldn’t see you

half-hidden behind those sudden rains
that leap across footpaths
& roadways, stream down the steep

hills & narrow gullies of childhood.
My bones said it, myth & memory
confirmed it through a stumbling maze

of false starts & clumsy wanderings
& now when your voice comes to me
unexpectedly at noon

or out of the last hour before dawn
the words I hear are your words
the face I see is your face

& it seems as though each
& every morning the world
makes a new beginning

that somewhere between myth
& history, illusion & subterfuge
there’s truth & meaning.

‘a capella’ from Summer in the Cote D’Azur (HeadworX, 2003), © Alistair Paterson 2003, used by permission of the author. Recording from the Aotearoa New Zealand Poetry Sound Archive 2004.

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