Issue 92, Summer 1984
Whatever comes to pass: the devastated world
sinks back into twilight,
the forest offers it a sleeping potion,
and from the tower the watchman's forsaken,
peaceful and constant the eyes of the owl stare down.
Whatever comes to pass: you know your time,
my bird, you put on your veil
and fly through the mist to me.
We peer into the haze where the rabble houses.
Yon follow my nod and storm out
in a whirl of feathers and fur—
My ice-gray shoulder companion, my weapon,
adorned with that feather, my only weapon!
My only finery: your veil and your feather.
And even when my skin burns
in the needle dance beneath the tree,
and the hip-high shrubs
tempt me with their spicy leaves,
when my curls dart like snake tongues,
sway and long for moisture,
the dust of distant stars still falls
right on my hair.
When I, in a helmet of smoke,
come back to my senses.
my bird, my nighttime ally,
when I'm ablaze in the night
the dark grove crackles
and I hammer the sparks from my limbs.
And when I stay ablaze as I am,
loved by the flame
until the resin streams out of the trunks,
drips over the wounds and
spins the earth warm into thread
(and though you rob my heart at night,
my bird of belief, my bird of faith!)
the watchtower moves into brightness
where you, tranquil now,
alight in magnificent peace —
whatever comes to pass.