The Oracles of the Virgin

Music is the art which is most nigh to tears and memory.--Oscar Wilde


Buried inside us were the sounds


of the words our parents


managed to utter in the moment of intercourse


before they fell silent at the wonder of budding life.


Buried inside us were the sounds


of the songs we heard in the cradle


before our mothers had forgotten


the oracles of the Virgin.


Buried inside us were the sounds


of the grinding of bones that blossomed


as the fruit was about to ripen


and later when the afternoon flamed


we only heard the cicadas.


Singapore-Melbourne, 18 July 1990