Kenneth Slessor

Here you will find the Poem Last Trams of poet Kenneth Slessor

Last Trams

THAT street washed with violet 
Writes like a tablet 
Of living here; that pavement 
Is the metal embodiment 
Of living here; those terraces 
Filled with dumb presences 
Lobbed over mattresses, 
Lusts and repentances, 
Ardours and solaces, 
Passions and hatreds 
And love in brass bedsteads . . . 
Lost now in emptiness 
Deep now in darkness 
Nothing but nakedness, 
Rails like a ribbon 
And sickness of carbon 
Dying in distances. 
THEN, from the skeletons of trams, 
Gazing at lighted rooms, you'll find 
The black and Röntgen diagrams 
Of window-plants across the blind 
That print their knuckleduster sticks, 
Their buds of gum, against the light 
Like negatives of candlesticks 
Whose wicks are lit by fluorite; 
And shapes look out, or bodies pass, 
Between the darkness and the flare, 
Between the curtain and the glass, 
Of men and women moving there. 
So through the moment's needle-eye, 
Like phantoms in the window-chink, 
Their faces brush you as they fly, 
Fixed in the shutters of a blink; 
But whose they are, intent on what, 
Who knows? They rattle into void, 
Stars of a film without a plot, 
Snippings of idiot celluloid.