― George Eliot, Daniel Deronda
Uphill in Melbourne on a beautiful day
a woman is walking ahead of her hair.
Like teak oiled soft to fracture and sway
it hung to her heels and seconded her
as a pencilled retinue, an unscrolling title
to ploughland, edged with ripe rows of dress,
a sheathed wing that couldn’t fly her at all,
only itself, loosely, and her spirits.
of life and self, brushed all calm and out,
its abstracted attempts on her mouth weren’t seen,
not its showering, its tenting. Just the detail
that swam in its flow-lines, glossing about—
as she paced on, comet-like, face to the sun.
Subhuman Redneck Poems, 1996