Two Poems

Bill Manhire

Doctor Zhivago

The big stage and golden curtain,
stars high up in the ceiling: one of
the few films I think he would have seen.

The sound of violins, then darkness
about the wide, white screen. I can hear
the sound of my father coughing.

My Sunshine

He sings you are my sunshine
and the skies are grey, she tries
to make him happy, things
just turn out that way.

She’ll never know
how much he loves her
and yet he loves her so much
he might lay down his old guitar
and walk her home, musician
singing with the voice alone.

Oh love is sweet and love is all, it’s
evening and the purple shadows fall
about the baby and the toddler
on the bed. It’s true he loves her
but he should have told her,
he should have, should have said.

Foolish evening, boy with a foolish head.
He sighs like a flower above his instrument
and his sticky fingers stick. He fumbles
a simple chord progression,
then stares at the neck.
He never seems to learn his lesson.

Here comes the rain. Oh if she were only
sweet sixteen and running from the room again,
and if he were a blackbird
he would whistle and sing
and he’d something
something something something.