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Best of Irish Poetry 2009
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ANTHONY LAWRENCE

 

 

Anthony Lawrence

Anthony Lawrence has published fifteen books of poems and a novel. A new collection, Headwaters is forthcoming in April, 2016 from Pitt Street Poetry. His books and individual poems have won many awards. He teaches Writing Poetry at Griffith University, Gold Coast, Australia.

 

 

 

 

 

Aristotle's Lantern

 

 

I would like to eat sea urchins.

I have opened them, but only while walking

      where they bristled on a reef.

That was years ago, but the memory

of the pain, where I sat in a rock pool

      holding my foot

as fine threads of blood dispersed

into weeds and anemones, remains.

      That night in a bar in Sardinia,

my foot on a chair, I drank wine

to silence the tremors where spines

      had broken off at the skin.

Removing them involved a flame-

heated pin, but only after I had burned

      a globe of black resin in tin foil

and inhaled the fragrant oil, repeatedly.

At the next table, a family

      were eating sea urchins,

spooning roe straight from the shell

or raising tines of steaming, russet pasta.

      All had expressions I'd seen before

on the faces of those lost to pleasure or prayer.

Years later I found, on imported tins,

      illustrations of shells and cross-

sections of the inner-lives of urchins.

On one there was an impression

      of the mouth, like a circle

of miniature standing stones—

tiny teeth with a name: Aristotle's lantern.

      Perhaps one day I'll walk out again

to a reef, treading carefully,

and reach down to lift an urchin

      to the light, its spines

waving like the ends of nerves.

I will consider opening the shell, and to then

      ease the roe onto my tongue.

I will imagine the taste, then I'll return it

to the sea, my hunger, not my desire, gone.

 

 

 

©2016 Anthony Lawrence

 

 

Author Links

 

Anthony Lawrence at Poetry International Web

Anthony Lawrence at the Poetry Archive

Signal Flare reviewed in the Australian Poetry Review

 

 

 

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