Issue 90, Winter 1983
Later we began to learn to live
At the mouth of this well of the pure desire
For an end of wanting, the descent into the sun.
The days unfurled like flags across the sky
Of cerulean blue, but the dreams were blank.
The evenings vague and apprehensive.
One by one the small songs twinkled away
Until only the sky music occupied our minds
With its stunned lament, and the brown eyes
Lowered finally and started to fill with tears.
We had been thrown into the middle of a landscape
Of an earlier imagination, an older dispensation
Swarming with wraiths and threats of immortality
Delivered in plainsong, with a grim air of purpose
Surrounding each detail of our preparations to depart.
It was the country we grew up in.
The scene of our nostalgias, where the warm
Twilight penetrated to the bone and the soft sea
Swept up towards an ambiguous horizon.
Then we moved into a world of towers and trees
Burnished by the autumn sunlight, grey stone paths
That emerged from the floating snow of winter
And spring rioting everywhere, that seemed
Torn from that hook of dreams we kept rereading
In the aftermath of fear and disappointment.
The words leapt from the page into the mind
And vanished there, lost in the translation
Of forgotten things into the objects of a wish.
But meanwhile the formal part went on: the candles lit.
The folded napkins stiff with possibility.
And finally the distracted singing started
That grew up gradually into another life
Behind the strange one in the mirror, casting back
Into an imaginary past for what the others knew
Only to throw away, and thrusting us in ignorance
Into this endless now of restlessness and speculation
With the sky sealed tight, the tired mind withdrawn
Into a fable of itself and all the magic afternoons
Reduced to a single image of golden sunlight
Wavering over the soft grass. We have gotten older.
And the cave we started out from has become our home.