The Speeches

taken from Late Summer Light Peter Kirkpatrick

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If love is friendship written large,
then marriage is emotional skywriting
- and underneath that aerial graffiti
I feel the weight of summer's ending lift
and torpid Sydney suddenly transformed.
I see the city grow into a garden:
skyscrapers shed their skins in glassy waterfalls
and start to branch and bud in wild disorder,
putting forth monumental orchids
and vast hibiscuses untwisting to the light.

But love is quite another city,
and builds itself with every step you take.
You enter with your sadness and your smile;
you enter with what hope you have
and, in its spaces, cease to be a stranger.
It's where you need to be: it's where you are.
It warms you in the light upon your shoulder
in the long streets of home; it can surprise you
like the blue-eyed Harbour in a blind black lane.
You don't know what's around the corner
- did you ever? – But there's the bridge in sight,
and you can find your way between these lines
of rippling hills and rhyming terraces.

If love can be a city, may it sprawl
radiant in late summer light, and warm
as sun-browned sandstone, glittering in sweat,
whose arms reach like a swimmer's to the sea
across a hundred bays and beaches.
May you feel it in the body heat of dreams
as in cool tides of sleep, hearing it speak
in the shaded meeting places of your words.
And may you find there, in between
the joists and bearers of its streets,
the frames and window spaces of its trees,
and the sky's blue ceiling,
an architecture we might all inhabit.