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.
An odd week. I bought a hat;
drank (and regretted) coffee cocktails;
woke early; took some notes.
– You turned out
to be a pair, delighting jaded friends,
who thought they’d seen it all, with proof
that sane integrity and kind courageous faith
could meet, and love, making this grim world shine. –
– He died –
too soon, too young,
the long-scarfed curate of my student days,
a good man, barely touching half
the psalmist’s grudging limit, that fiery Petertide.
(Queues of black-stoled priests, damp-footed,
blotting the nave, distraught
as any of the rest of us) –
– It didn’t, couldn’t, last. But those
brief moments, tangents to eternity,
shine out, show heaven, close enough to see
what might be, even so.
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.
Heaven, I sometimes think, must be
where I grew up – mid-August,
the raspberries run wild and ripe,
hens scratching in the yard,
the house dim and cool,
red tiles under bare feet;
where, all the long afternoon,
those whom I love and will love
arrive, sleepy, stretch out on the lawn,
washed in the sunlight after the long drive,
and, after, talk late round the kitchen table,
plates pushed aside,
with song and red wine and laughter,
the world set to rights.