- by James Phillip McAuley 61A ray of light, to an oblique observer,
Remains invisible in pure dry air;
But shone into a turbid element
It throws distracting side-gleams everywhere
And is diminished by what takes the eye.
So poetry that moves by chance collision
Scatters its brightness at each random mote
And mars the lucid order of its vision.
The purest meditation will appear
Faint or invisible to those who glance
Obliquely at its unreflected beam;
Durer: Innsbruck, 1495
- by James Phillip McAuley 28I had often, cowled in the slumbrous heavy air,
Closed my inanimate lids to find it real,
As I knew it would be, the colourful spires
And painted roofs, the high snows glimpsed at the back
All reversed in the quiet reflecting waters –
Not knowing than that Durer perceived it too.
Now I find that once more I have shrunk
To an interloper, robber of dead men's dreams,
I had read in books that art is not easy
But no one warned that the mind repeats
In its ignorance the vision of others. I am still
The black swan of trespass on alien waters.
Poems by James Phillip McAuley, James Phillip McAuley's poems collection. James Phillip McAuley is a classical and famous poet (12 October 1917 - 15 October 1976 / Lakemba, New South Wales). Share all poems of James Phillip McAuley.
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