Issue 119, Summer 1991
A Summer’s Night
You were sculpted on a prow,
Time wore you away as the foam might have done,
It closed your eyes one stormy night,
Stained with salt your half-bare breasts.
O saint, whose charred hands are recolored
By the adoration of some new flowers,
Sanctuary for the sparse, the fleeting,
At the far end of rust-sown fields,
What sleep in your arched neck,
What shade in the dry leaves on the flagstones!
One could call this our room of a year gone by,
The same bed, but the blinds drawn shut.
And there, among the field-flowers, the wax ones
Are no less moving, brightly painted
According to the whims of hope that still dreams
Even where memory has faded.
And the unbeliever lingering near them,
He too picks up the glass crucible,
Raises it irrepressibly before the image,
Recreating thus the miracle of fire,
Then sets it down, infinite, and continues on his way,
Having loved the sign for lack of meaning.
What will soon blacken in this flame, he wonders,
Which is the word missing from my voice?
Yet all is so luminous, at nightfall,
Why does one arch in every life
Hang lower, and the water it enthralls crash more fiercely,
Beneath the resonant vault?