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Poetry

The Oracles of the Virgin

Translated from Greek

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

English

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