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Spring 2003

True Yarn

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A man approaches the edge
of his life, which has miscarried.

He looks down the enormous wall
of rock to the ocean-boulders
far below. They seem the teeth
in a white-green tidal blender
that won't fail him. He launches
off, just as the mightiest wave
ever recorded at Sydney gathers
lift in the chimney of the Gap like
a freight elevator, like the swelling
fore-smoke of a ballistic missile silo,
like a foam-faced cosmic air bag
that receives him, then drops back
so fast he not only can't sink
but has to cling to its narrowing
thunder-roof of drowning seagulls
and the collapse is so abundant
that, storeys above the death-studs,
he is surfed away in the wash
a mile clear of the cliffs
and left to the fast life boat.

More failure? Yet his rescue looked
like a wrathful peremptoriness.

—Les Murray

Les Murray is an Australian poet who doesn't live in Sydney but readily believes stories about it.

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