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MTC Cronin


Under the Trees

There is no longer anything to be said
that might strike you as necessary.
The day is in a pink dress.
All the birds have been caught indoors
and are dealing with frowning women
who bear broomsticks in every direction.
It appears to be a battle but still I maintain
that women do not wage war.
There are three of us today—all mes:
the small, the large, the one perfectly fitted
to my mother’s first idea of myself.
Dust shifts where the light seems gold.
Blue paint from a child’s fingers
inherits the sky.



The Precepts of the Poets

'Others affirm that in the tower there were only nine materials
and that these were clay and water, wool and blood,
wood and lime, pitch, linen, and bitumen....
These represent noun, pronoun, verb, adverb,
participle, conjunction, preposition, interjection.'

on my tongue tastes like the earth
from which they built the Tower of Babel


a language broken
by flourishment


with its terrible invisible warmth
wraps my mind in its household memory


the perfect language
but I knew his pen not him


can I whisper my translation
to you?


is the burning whiteness
in this ritual grammar


the letter telling of all falsehoods
took centuries to arrive at its destination


on which I lay out my nouns, pronouns
verbs, adverbs and all their adjectives of love


the roads leading to this place
are inside this place and vernacular




Colon: it wasn’t an order: there are some
whose lives have bookcases and others
for whom the side of the road serves
the same purposes: unenumerated
it doesn’t change this: the tongue
has rained into the hand: the
fingers feed the mouth


MTC Cronin has had six books and three booklets of poetry published, the most recent being My Lover's Back: 79 Love Poems (UQP, 2002) and beautiful, unfinished: PARABLE/SONG/CANTO/POEM (Salt Publishing, Cambridge, UK, 2003). Her 2001 book, Talking to Neruda's Questions, is being translated into Spanish by the poet Juan Garrido. She is currently working on her doctorate, The Law of Love Letters: Prose, Poems, Law & Desire, at the University of Technology, Sydney. Her next book, <More or Less Than> 1-100, is forthcoming in 2004 through Shearsman Press in the UK and a selected poems is being translated into Bosnian and Serbian by Tatjana Lukic.
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