Garry McDougall’s poem ‘Indebted’: Almost unbearable intimacy

Garry (right) and Stuart at the NSW Writers Centre, Sydney
Garry (right) and Stuart at the NSW Writers Centre, Sydney

My poet friend Garry McDougall has allowed me to share his poem ‘Indebted’ on my blog. Garry is a novelist and painter as well as a poet, and we meet most Tuesdays at the ‘Write On’ writers group in Sydney. ‘Indebted’ is my favourite among his works. It relies on familiar McDougallesque poetic techniques: Semantic slippage as word meanings blend oddly with their neighbours,  homonyms that bump into each other in surprise,  grammar mystically subverted , and the resonation of patterned sounds.

What sets apart ‘Indebted to’ is the almost painful intimacy of the fleeting scene it describes.  If you wake up each morning with somebody special, you’ll get it.

 

Indebted To

The hours nest

between herself and mine,

until first trains grumble in the dark,

a car’s whisk,
 my mind

in the picture-of-often-not,

knot hours, and ‘Not now, not now,’

that telling blanket cover cosy-

warm bed, binding time,

faint breath

in the hour of in-between.

 

Body weight to a faceless clock

in this so silk sack of nether warmth

and ponder pillows,

covert and dissenting blanket,

underhand train,

bare feet at the fay end of time,

brain and body exhaling

my half-hymn for her,

in temple red and slumber

our fingers touch,

accepting hearse time defining,

the hour of in-between.

 

Long lost in a feather sac

and limber light,
 locked alive in flesh,

grumble tum, harmonic match,

patter knack of morning dew,

reigning home besides you,

moist, hot breath to sticky rest,

towards a whisper,
 lover of tides

blessed
 to be here, steep steps of breath

in the hour of in-between.

 

Fathoming yesterday’s remains,

while she recalls day’s first chore
,

rolls over, dawn driven, first feet on floor,

and I stay, viscous,
 encumbered,

chalk words to sing her sun still,

my self stumbling

in the hour of in-between.

© 2016 Garry McDougall

###

You can read about Stuart Campbell’s books here.

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