Commissioned by Katie Noonan with financial assistance from the Australia Council for the Arts
First performance by Katie Noonan and the Brodsky Quartet, Queensland Performing Arts Centre, Brisbane, 28 April 2016
After the Visitors
All day I have lived in front of myself, my house
a hollow box of talk, of voices
crossing darting in mêlée, of crossing glances,
hands offering and taking food, cups, glasses,
crossing purposes flashing to air and diving.
I turn to myself again, now they are leaving,
about to go back to my proper house,
my private face.
Yes yes, of course I love you, I think I love you,
I think we agree, no we do not agree,
I do not believe you, yes darling I believe you –
we dip a moment and drink from eye to eye,
bodies slant and balance to and away
miming the flux of talk
But now you are gone I shake you off and return
no longer needing to question or reply.
House settles. Walls calm. Air cools.
I put away glasses, adjust the house to my shape
and turn to my work. Is it you again, alone?
We are old companions, self. We can go on,
sometimes in love, sometimes lonely
with the old pang, the old delight,
the living balance between
waking and sleep.
from Fourth Quarter, 1976