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Grammar Lesson

There should be a name for the special case

in which we say ‘the crowd marveled

if that roar that rose

over the back of the stadium walls,

over the rain-shingled streets

conveys the sense that what mattered

on the pitch, or the court, happened

in the eyes that watched it


that indicates a place has changed

for our having stood there

sheltering from the headlights’ dazzle

under a descant of wet leaves

the better to watch a harvest moon


that means this place is trying to tell you something;

not to the undergraduates howling at Halloween

not to the dog-walkers who look up as they pass, and nod,

but to us, as we stand there to marvel

at that red corsage pinned to a foreign sky

above staircases twined

like DNA toward kitchen lights

shining through the transom windows.

Australian Book Review, 'States of Poetry' website March 2017

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