Pictures in a Gallery Undersea, I: Bimmorie, O Binnorie – C. K. Stead
In Ladbroke Square the light on waxen branches –
The orange light through two veined leaves
Tenacious in frost.
Upstairs, she lit the gas,
And drew bright curtains on the whitened eaves,
And said (her hand above the slowly turning disc)
‘I shall never go back’.
Mozart in the delicate air
Slid from her glass, beat vainly against the cushions,
Then took off gladly across the deserted Square.
‘You too must stay’ (loosening her sun-bleached hair)
‘You more than I – you will defeat their fashions’.
Invisible fins guided her to my chair.
Pictures in a gallery undersea
Were turned facing the wall, and the corridors were endless;
But in the marine distance, floating always beyond me,
A girl played Mozart on her sun-bleached hair.
So that wherever I walked on that long haul, midnight to dawn,
Stones of a sunken city woke, and passed the word,
And slept behind me; but the notes were gone,
Vanished like bubbles up through the watery air
Of London, nor would again be heard.
O'Sullivan, V. (Ed.). (1979). An anthology of twentieth century New Zealand poetry. Wellington: Oxford University Press.