Crevasse and chasm, piano, bookshelf, mantel: we set off
when all the rest have got there, go the long way round,
know nothing of what draws us save that far faint blaze
of glory glimpsed across vast empty skies. We saw,
and set out on a path long known, unprecedented,
traced our own steps; idled, forgotten,
one last unlikely leap compelled us, just in time. To see,
learn what we had forgotten, remember what we longed for.
We have been here before, but never quite like this –
– For one brief day we stand before eternity,
knowing at last, and seeing, seen and known,
this moment not to be clung to, lost in its attainment –
– Journey done, we wait once more in darkness. Next time
we’ll start again from the beginning, knowing
the way to be long, fulfilment fleeting,
but worth the travel, travail, this time, next time,
for all time. Beyond time.
Peanuts give you, gram for gram,
the densest protein ratio, and crisps
(fat and carbohydrate) are best
for energy. Likewise, poetry’s
the most efficient form in which
to take your words. Three slim volumes
(you buy it in slim volumes, like
crisps in bags, unless you get the
multipack, Collected Works)
will make a feast
to last me eighty miles.
March blows in,
too tired for anything but waiting;
too weak for anything but waiting;
soon it must surely
tear through me, open me up
until I know, heart-deep, the brightness
that now I only see.
stretching the universe. They cannot bear
to be so near to us, our guilt
broadcast at lightspeed.
We thought we could do better.
Here, on the shore
they used to call the centre of the world,
our hopes lie drowned.
God said that it was good, and ought to know,
But we, invested in our guilty woe,
Couldn’t see that. God went below
To render, or perhaps to prove, it so.
The trees outside my window are so very green,
leaves bright (the sun flows through their veins),
the buses very red, their white roofs
(did you know their roofs were white?)
zig-zag zig-zag until the lights,
their secret numbers only secret
from the ground. Up here they’re bold and black;
it’s changed, and I, I bounce, I bounce, I bounce,
I bounce back faster now, I bounce
back higher now; I go up
(whoomph) and everything’s
on fire; this world
is good to live in; this world
has people in who make it
worth living in this world
if only for the grace
of living in the same world
as they do, and besides
the trees are so very green.
When I woke again, it was high summer,
the trees in full green leaf, green
on the altars, and you,
beside me, smiling, diffident,
having stopped by
to see if
you might be of assistance.
I loved all that I saw in that waking
and you, being then in the foreground,
could not help but be loved. Love springs
from the heart unasked-for, clings
to the one who stands ready
to bear it. You and I
(when I’ve become more than the end
of a quest, and you
have retreated somewhat, into perspective),
you and I will have learned
what to do with this unforeseen,
blazing, implacable love,
and then we’ll begin.