Letter IV: On Reality
We crossed the seaward field
with the air heavy against us,
our heels mining canticles from clay.
Look, you said, this is real.
The boats decay on their painters
and no one lives to sail them.
Later I saw a woman walking
past us with a lamp, illuminating
nothing but the stones
that lay broken under our feet.
I wanted suddenly to understand
the world’s darker evidence,
as though the raw wager of death
skilled our souls for greater yield.
Love comes in at my bedside
Love lies down beside me
Love has oppressed my tender breast
And love will waste my body
– trad. Scots, Tifty’s Annie
Before we journeyed upland
you said: only the grave is left
when mortal skin
is shucked from bone,
to curtain trees from the onset
of winter’s lasting kiss.
fell and rose like a thought,
searing belt of hydrogen bent
to midnight’s horizon.
From what do we make ourselves?
I see you there, a lynx-like shadow
stalking the perimeter
I repeat things obligingly
as if they will save us.
This is no time for absurdities… and yet
our living coil demands
a gambler’s logic, the chances
remote enough so anything is possible.
in the near sky
are a brilliant accident.
You will return on a day that does not exist.
I will call this ‘redemption’.