A short love poem

He is afraid of me
and I of him
Who might tear each other
limb from limb

Or compel each other
heart to heart
never to tear again
locked limbs apart

Charles Brasch
Charles Brasch was the founder editor of NZ's literary magazine, Landfall, and it was with him that NZ literature started to be a serious operation. His poetry is unfashionable nowadays, but it will surely return to favour. This piece is uncharacteristically animated: his poetry is normally much more subdued, with rhyming schemes that are less insistent. The gender of the speaker is ambiguous, and this is surely deliberate. The poet's resolve to protect that ambiguity lends the poem - perhaps inadvertently - a curious and delightful abstractness and purity which perfectly sets off its conciseness. Brasch himself was gay, as it happens, but it hardly seems to matter.

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