Gwen Harwood

Oyster Cove

Dreams drip to stone. Barracks and salt marsh blaze
opal beneath a crackling glaze of frost.
Boot-black, in graceless Christian rags, a lost
race breathes out cold. Parting the milky haze
on mudflats, seabirds, clean and separate, wade.
Mother, Husband and Child: stars which forecast
fine weather, all are set. The long night's past
and the long day begins. God;s creatures, made
woodcutters' whores, sick drunks, watch the sun prise
their life apart: flesh, memory, language all
split open, featureless, to feed the wild
hunger of history. A woman lies
coughing her life out. There's still blood to fall,
but all blood's spilt that could have made a child.