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LEUNIG, Michael

The Summer Palace

Make a little garden in your pocket,

Fill your cuffs with radishes and rocket,

Let a passionfruit crawl up your thigh,

Grow some oregano in your fly.

Make a steamy compost of your fears,

Trickle irrigate your life with tears,

Let your troubled mind become a trellis,

Turn your heart into a summer palace.

At the Top

At the top of the tallest building in the world

Sat the saddest man in the world

And inside the man

Was the loneliest heart in the world

And inside the heart

Was the deepest pit in the world

And at the bottom of the pit

Was the blackest mud in the world

And in the mud lay the lightest, loveliest, tenderest,
Most beautiful, happy angel in the universe.

How to Get There

Go to the end of the path until you get to the gate.

Go through the gate and head straight out towards the horizon.

Keep going towards the horizon.

Sit down and have a rest every now and again,

But keep on going, just keep on with it.

Keep on going as far as you can.

That’s how you get there.

When the Heart

When the heart

Is cut or cracked or broken,

Do not clutch it;

Let the wound lie open.

Let the wind

From the good old sea blow in

To bathe the wound with salt,

And let it sting.

Let a stray dog lick it,

Let a bird lean in the hole and sing

A simple song like a tiny bell,

And let it ring.

The Missile

There is a missile, so I’ve heard,

Which locks on to the smallest bird,

Finely tuned to seek and kill

A tiny chirp or gentle trill.

It’s modern warfare’s answer to

An ancient wisdom tried and true:

When fighting wars you first destroy

All songs of innocence and joy.


Magpie, magpie, dive on me,

Swoop down from your holy tree;

As I pass the flower bed

Stick your beak into my head.

Magpie, magpie, make a hole,

Through my head into my soul:

As I pass beneath the sun

Bring my troubled head undone.

Magpie, magpie it is spring

Is my soul a happy thing?

As I pass around the tree

Make a hole so you can see.