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The Willow pattern plate

Saucer (fragment, China, c1795)

Start with blueness and a story,
the usual lovers fleeing past
beneath the tree. Something's got to
give or take, they aren't like you 
or me, their bodies morphing fast
to tree or sky. These choose sky.

In this early fragment the plate
is full of birds in flight,
thousands as there always are
the hunted with the usual bent
their story unadorned as night
fleeing the here, the now, the dark.

The years roll on, the lines are known
the food's congealing on the plate,
the detail's long forgotten now
that pair alone becoming sky
the geometrics of their fate
a pair of wings in blue and white.

The Canberra Times, December 2003