James Phillip McAuley

(12 October 1917 – 15 October 1976 / Lakemba, New South Wales)

At a Child's Grave


A sky contused and rifted like a wound:
Red-amber gum exudes from the dark tree;
A long day’s dying. Small anatomy
Locked in this nameless grave’s neglected mound,

You wait for nothing now but that wild sound
Of trumpets blowing doom and jubilee.
And if it came this instant, where would I flee,
Where hide my terror in the gaping ground,

What crack, what rift, what gulf would shelter me
And close me over never to be found
When the last hopeless wish is, not to be?

But little child you’d rise, and walk around,
And have a name again; beneath the tree
Of life you’d sit, with beams of glory crowned.

Submitted: Wednesday, May 09, 2012

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