what is it about sunlight that opens
or about night that encloses or cools,
what about water loosens or rock makes
still, what is it about the wind that finds us
naked, about the stars that makes us wide,
what about this day that’s undone my heart,
what this bit of cloth that makes me cry
in the dark house, a light more
the idea of light than light, a bed
more the idea of rest than rest,
people robust or faint with no
thought for themselves—only for
a heaven less earthly than earth
more beautiful than a cup
of water from the well at noon
or dark clouds down the plain
The boat sits on a bar of light
brighter than the eye can bear
a bright hole in the world when
you surface, another shadow
on the water from that other
world below with its eternal sway
where your creatures are always
hunting, even when you sail away.
A day longer than a day—
water under a piling,
plying sand and silt away
till everything is water
and sky—heat lightning,
How off the track the wheel
of other lines, the little you
the big one orbits round,
the last lost creature
In the spirit jail.
Think of us, the many of us
cut for fuel, think how we rested
in shallow water when we died
still tied to the way we fell.
Think of the country we then
occupied beneath your passing by,
the uncomplaining ranks of us
in each our solitude. Think how
little murder looks like sacrifice
depending on your point of view.
Think of us still holding onto
some mystery we could not let go
until you came to turn us into
something burning and alive.
How the water was the water
And the sky the sky.
How not itself was anything,
How truth be told was lie.
When the weather was the weather
Mild, torrential, chilly, high–
Fog like aspic, rain like needles,
Storms your hazel eyes.
How the marvel was the marvel
That we loved from side to side,
That we carried when we carried
Soft or sharp or still or wry.
How we suffered when we suffered
The cramped room of rhyme.
How we metamorphosed then
And thought we outran time.
How the secret was the secret
Of the plow and lullaby–
How you loved me and I loved you,
How we thought we’d never die.