by Peter Miles (1942)

Moreton Bay fig

Grass like small feet following, 
wind-worried. Wind in Moreton figs
through leaves hand-broad, thick, stiff, through boughs
soft clumsy, loutish, knotted, wind roar-loud
in undertones, congealed in trees, and suddenly
shrill-free again. In pines it sings
a high clear note, in palms it creaks,
rubs, rustles all the night: one tells what tree by wind sound. In the Moreton figs
along the river, roar, loud and deep
and dully warped, unlovely, menacing. And grass 
like small feet following. 

                              Peter Miles (1942). 

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Pacific Moon

Pacific Moon (1945) 

The boom of the surf again in rising wind….
For a long while now I have been remembering
That stark sweet music in continuous
Crescendo on the lonely beach, deep leit-motif
Of something old, old as wandering
Rack-misted moon-
So, aged ghost, you come again with pale
Uncomment, haunting? You remember
When the live sea swelled and you,
Perpetually clouded, strained
Those rhythms into protoplasm even now I feel
In my brief consciousness, drowned memory
Emerging: here
Is the vast beginning of things, the empty theatre.

We are not strangers, you and I, old
  Murmerer: I hear your thundering
Through cities and the superficial chatter, hear
Plain statements and the high strong manifesto sung
In sea winds.

                                            Peter Miles (1945) 

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                by Peter Miles (1945)

WW2 Pillarbox marked with stripes for black out

You’re the tight twist in my heart
when lost gulls of paperboys cry
in a brownout, you are the lights 
of my vanishing home and my desperate heart’s 
last, ultimate houselights.
Dear, and I must
go out in the darkness, leaving the old 
friendly things and the laughter and eyes
as before in the past, I must be going
all my swift life from the lights of my home. 

Even though trams and the scuffle 
of feet and the paperboys’ cries 
come loud in the brownout, still it is empty
and silent, silent as horror
and empty as eyes are that turn 
strange in the face of a friend. 

Still it was empty, but you
were incredible fire and white
gay unquenchable heat, and you were the twist
in my heart that took fire and lit
dark halls of the soul:
you are my truth
whom I utterly love and the lights 
of my home and the laughter, all
lesser things;
and the one
supernatural life and desire:
you are the soul of my being.  

                                    Peter Miles (1945)

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Vintage 4711

In the suntime came love, with the spray
of the wind in her hair and a song
in her eyes.
Out of love issued life.
In the suntime came love, immortally gay,
serene, undefiled; immortally strong.

In the suntime....she did not stay long.
In the Twentieth Century came Love, the gramophone
playing self-satisfied song hits, insistently playing
and saying
that life is built up on the archetype feelings,
that they are the core and the rest is the peelings.
In the Twentieth Century came Love, not alone
in her glory but with dancing nerve-endings
and a music of flexing and bendings.
In the Twentieth Century came Love, with a bang
and a whimper both, and the tang
of a heaven
of 4711.

                      Peter Miles (1945)

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It was good to lie in the sun discovering
the texture of the wind and its pure pattern
like a blind man in great folds of pure silk;
feeling was good; and it was good to watch
the molten grass and guess the curve
the wind imposed, far clean gums shake
and rock in sudden gusts disordering
the pattern of their nearly imperceptible
high ghosts of colour in the sun’s dilution: emptying
like plastic glassy water from a faucet, shock
of a magpie’s sudden roll and lilt, and pause
of happy wind which once
was human breath and language …. substances
of grass and earth and naked lovely gums
  infiltering one’s being, consciousness
of filaments the sense-perception misses save the
wind is murmering in them, and in the sun
they shine, the threads of silver….

this old Australia
in me, this ancient wind-buoyant theme
and music of existence, entity,
will shape the inward soul in quietness
and unpretension of love
as days and years her hands make gracious, lovely as

                                                            Peter Miles (1942)

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