Tremor in his hands. He turns obsolete
leaves edged with thunder since the opening scene.
What he sees he reads under croton shade,
out in the sun. Restless peninsula,
dog-eared, melting off into the blue.
The blue breaks white as hallucination,
more haggard than foam. What he reads he is,
in all unlikeness, except in margins.
Patiently there his patient, brisk notes skim
clean out of reach of spite he despises
(malice, another matter, which he likes),
that idle country, the cruise ship, curdles
in his eyes, edgewise, blocking Saint Thomas
from view. The last he had seen of it, dusk,
at noon, recoiled from the cinder barracks
at rest from working iron into sugar;
long, shingled rows of them, glittering red
and silent, and in that silence, Daniel,
the brown boy, ripening by lamplight, died:
remember Daniel, remember Daniel—
he remembers Ariel in midday’s cloven dusk,
writing by “Fine apparition,” doubtless,
adding, on the next page, mirror. Sheer pain.
Untarnished and all-circumscribing bright,
the pain grips what he sees, his father’s shanty,
fallen, shining, like hard rime against day’s
violet’s blues in a mass of green leaves;
his father, where he is gone, no one goes
to come back.