The mind takes problems

The mind takes problems
For its ease; that's a best
Elucidation, and the rest
Is in the plurals of the past.

 

Datum-point

Middays possess
The ages; dawns
And dusks admit
A side of dark, so

Risk a datum-point.
Midday is ornament.

 

 

From which day might tenses flow

 

From which day might tenses flow—
A sunrise growing so short-shaded?
From which patterning of skies?

Or coverings for crouching nudity,
Alone, beneath an overarching tree?

 

 

The Pearl

Let us not take the witness
as read; rather, something
in the mind; say, a grain
of sand beneath the shell,
which nothing can expel.

 

 

Out from Eden

The pattern of your birth
can't come again, to show
the end, and, at the end
no restitution serves

to parse. All tragedy
comes close to this:
beginnings innocent,
and knowledge of a loss.

 

 

Whose hand is this?

Slides from the point
to allow a point;
erases unmet points—

Point-plenum falls
in the present hollow
of the hand. Makes

a new hand. Removes
unmoving hands.
Whose hand is this?

Memory overwrites all
one could recall.


 

Nothing to stand away from

The permanent, imagined;
The only long-sight. Then
The undirected night, clean
Of purpose: no shallows
Here: no marginals, and no
Main gist: nothing to stand
Away from: nothing to join.

 

 

The crooked timber of humanity

I am where my light can never shine;
the crooked timber of humanity
holds one contracted distant's line
at illuminated end of day. This door
was dark upon the fall of dawn
and dark for all the coming light.

I see where my eye can never rest;
the shadow to the risen sun
sees dark upon the manifest. This frame
is clear upon the further end of day;
the crooked timber of humanity
is dark for all its lucency.

 

 

Matins

Sun as yet unrisen; first birdsong sets
the last unlonely hour, and the night
slips from the room, as though there were
no pasts, but only one evolving space
and origin. Into unseen distance
from the poise of quick, unpersoned self,
led off in the first swift green of day:
two acts in one: a single will
where meaning is the later codicil.

And all the later living's in the margin
of extremes within one day relayed
from wakening to dusk: one two-ended
singular— and, between, streaming
many-stranded through the noon-day
sun-and-shade, emotioning personae
never-to-be-realized. The grace of days
is here, in one unrisen sun,
a day unset; perfected, unbegun.

 

 

The re-invented wheel

The re-invented wheel
turns as the first;
the seasons' allturning—
speed without change.

Round the new wheel
the oldness of the world
from sky to track;
days are singing spokes;

as time lets loose the speed
of age he starts to hear
the fabric of their song.
Familiar, forever known,

and now so clearly voiced.
Was there ever a wheel
that was not made new?
Running on a track laid blind?

 

 

Fear of falling

Evening comes as afternoon begins
to wear; the slide to slanting light
perturbs with suddenness, as though


the new were seen more easily
than trailing ends. Years die
like this, and lives: the silent new


is in the absent unrecalled, while all
that made a life is still within a world
but hardly changed. That will turn—


In the morning of the day to come
the sudden metaphor of days will rise
with dawn: the soul is sent to find


an understanding of itself, to be
perturbed by what it is. So far to fall:
an endless plain of days beneath.

 

 

Forward thinking

The tight asymmetry allows no looking back;
the net of memory, it seems, is thrown
across partitioned time. Faces without names,
selves without qualities: in the dead of night,
wind-shaken raindrops on the panes remain
although the clouds have gone; the moon
that nears its fullness casts a rain-washed light


upon the traverse of the half-seen world.
But, beneath, there is the even-handed fall
of unaccented hours, as though, unmarked,
the past's composite time were still to come,
unhurrying, without anticipation of a day to be:
a ragged fiction of that one grey morning light
of every morning which the past deferred.

 

 

The private present

Immeasurable depth, this night,
whose surfaces upon the pupil-dark
are slow parables upon the muter thoughts,
which will never speak; upon the known
which can no longer be retrieved:

and the moon floods slanting light
across the furrows of the frosty field.
The mind's less mortal, for its end
is not so drawn. One day closer
to the solitude of all: one day

nearer the unfragmented first,
towards an understanding
with all that is not understood,
unheard with heard, word
without a meaning, privative

upon the present edge. A change
so small, and yet a tide reversed
begins to ebb within the slightness
of the hour: a way of seeing worlds
has gone, and a sun is lost.

 

 

If there is a world, it does not learn

If there is a world, it does not learn;
the high apartment's windows open
to the city sounds at summer's edge,
the common space within the gates
of sense. The journey struck out
long ago ends in driven innocence—

aside the frame of time, dumb to speak
of what it sees, as if this track of days
held wisdoms which are understood
only in the backward: as if the eyes
but rarely saw the lost, long-fingered hands
on slid identity. And, here, the living

seem to be, alone. No feeling is enough
to hold the unowned edge that's home.

 

Index

 

updated 16th October 2004