A Question Unanswered


And now it is to be expected
that the other of the two ‘Heavenly Powers’,
eternal Eros, will make an effort to assert himself...
Civilisation and Its Discontents, Sigmund Freud


“When has love stemmed the tide of blood
or driven back the tears?” you ask,
but I cannot answer.
Who knows what cruel depths we’ll sink to
in the reaches of desire,
what green fields we’ll lie in
when the dreamtime comes?
And maybe love is no more than
a search for things we sense
but cannot touch—forgotten scars
we see in other eyes
or trace in other flesh,
without feeling.
One thing only do I know,
that the man in the animal is
our death,
yours and mine, my friend.
And though we take this lightly,
and though we scoff at dreams
and laugh away the nightmares
and premonitions,
another’s dream may someday prove
your nightmare—
last night I saw you with
a parcel you’d been sent
and felt your anguish when you touched,
with trembling heart,
your daughter’s severed hands.
These things happen.

Pavlos Andronikos

Published in Australian Writing Now
ed. M. Jurgensen & R. Adamson (Outrider & Penguin, 1988), p. 284.