for John Pfitzner
“Ascending skywards seemed a good move.” John Pfitzner. I think of a lark’s song, of the smoke from a campfire at dusk, of those dreamy tendrils of thought at the edge of sleep, of imagination, of the falconer’s release of his bird, of colourful kites before their swoop and fall, of planes and helicopters, of the initial arc of rockets, of the smokestacks of Auschwitz, the fires of Dresden,
of the mourner’s Kaddish, beautified in repetition, of voices alone and joined, calling out, then fading. I think of the prayers of children on their knees at bedtime, silent or whispered, earnest, hopeful, of the gentleness on a man’s face, gathered over the course of seventy years, lifting with a final sigh in his sleep, of the souls of the departed, rising one by one from their late bodies towards the promise of light and of the great reliquary of sky, open and receptive, always open and receptive, receiving one, receiving all.
David Adès was one of the first contributors to Poet’s Corner. Originally from Adelaide, he now lives in Sydney after five years in Pittsburgh in the US. His poetry has appeared in anthologies and on radio in Australia and overseas, and whilst in Pittsburgh he participated in the annual Hemingway Summer Poetry Readings. In 2014 he won the prestigious University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor’s Poetry Prize, and was shortlisted for the major Newcastle Poetry Prize in the same year. His book collection “Mapping the World” was published by Wakefield Press and Friendly Street in 2008, and the chapbook collection “Only the Questions are Eternal” by Garron Publishing in 2015.
Today’s poem is a tribute to fellow poet John Pfitzner, who was reviewed posthumously in December 2013 in InDaily. It is from David’s new book “Afloat in Light”, University of Western Australia Publishing, details and reviews of which can be found here.