I give up one loneliness to another
when I admit that nothing means anything.
I no longer have to fool myself I
should try to touch or move you with my words
and can get on with my real work of breathing.
Words are mushrooms of fire and air and not
the rooted wings this mudcrab once needed
to believe in, and only in always
brimming silence can he begin to hear
the echoes of this ancient nada anew.
TO MY WIFE OF TWENTY-FIVE YEARS
On our crowded cluttered path, you are my
one elbower and hand-holder; compass and
carriage as we skirt the potholes of our mind
that keep sprouting before us with every doubt;
spirit-level and plumb of our every pause
of reconnaissance we take at crossroads.
We are each other’s destination and
‘all the stops along the way’, all the knots
of terror we tear at like foxes facing
each other from ends of leashes made taut
by our own tuggings as we stretch ourselves
sideways but onwards back to the ocean and
island of our love with its temple hut
at whose midnight door I’m but the rapping wind,
while its oven, bed, roof and raft you remain
under all clouds, throughout all thunders, after
every flood and dove of our heart’s peaked ark.
Waiting for the sun, I witness the wind.
This is what she does: she allows the grass
to fool itself it can run; she lets trees
pretend they have wings to stretch and feathers to spare;
she pushes against boys biking to school;
she helps along girls wearing awkward shoes
but shows no respect for their skirts or hair;
she sends hats and trashcan-lids rolling down the street.
The wind can drive men mad, if they resent
or resist her, fearing she’ll blow away
their plans or ideals, blow open their plots,
their secrets or their other unspoken notions.
Tornado winds have erased entire towns
and those who don’t die learn anew to thank
the Lord and praise Him for His sublime works.
I have always entertained the wind: we’ve been friends
ever since she gave me hell in the rain
as I towed my children on my bike, bags
of food on my shoulders, one hand steering,
the other steadying an open umbrella.
We go back, the wind and I, and she’ll still
use my ears as doorways into my head
where she clears away any cobwebs and
leaves behind her echoes to haunt me: she likes me:
once in the grass she was about to cross
paths with me when she changed her mind and rushed
towards me and kissed me like no woman
ever has, like a big friendly dog or a child.
There’s also ‘solar wind’ – which reminds me
that what I’ve been waiting for has arrived
on my shoulder perched like a bird there blown
by the wind whom, through these thoughts of her, I become.