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44444444 quartets back

tendril and spray
clutch and cling?
the starfish, the horseshoe crab, the whale's backbone
the sea is the land's edge also, the granite,
into which it reaches, the beaches where it tosses
its hints of earlier and other creation
the pools where it offers to our curiosity the more delicate algae and the sea anemone
are likewise permanent with such permanence as time has
whether, or not, due to misunderstanding, having hoped for the wrong things or dreaded the wrong things, is not in question
and the time of death is every moment
'on whatever sphere of being the mind of a man may be intent at the time of death' - that is the one action
and do not think of the fruit of action
which shall fructify in the lives of others
i may not comprehend, may not remember
so the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing
i gaze but don't understand
it's as if they were strangers
not as making a trip that will be unpayable for a haul that will not bear examination
a dignified and commodious sacrament

the past is finished or the future is before us
not escaping from the past into different lives, or into any future
you are not the same people who left that station
or who will arrive at any terminus,
while the
narrowing rails slide together behind you
watching the furrow that widens behind you,
you shall not think
every phrase and every sentence is an end and a beginning, every poem an epitaph
where every word is at home,
taking its place to support the others,
the word neither diffident nor ostentatious,
an easy commerce of the old and the new,
the common word exact without vulgarity,
the formal word precise but not pedantic,
the complete consort dancing together
wait without love,
for love would be love of the wrong thing
there is yet faith
but the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting
or when, under ether, the mind is conscious but conscious of nothing-
i said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
for hope would be hope for the wrong thing
they say the first snow will fall america waits for me on every street, but i feel in the decline of evening today so long, and yesterday so brief
the backward look behind the assurance
of recorded history, the backward half-look
over the shoulder, towards the primitive terror
on the money'


dying is a habit
that's well-known to many

though not to the ear,
the murmuring shell of time, and not in any language
you are not those who saw the harbour receding, or those who will disembark
fare forward, you who think that you are voyaging
love is itself unmoving, only the cause and end of movement, timeless, and undesiring except in the aspect of time caught in the form of limitation between un-being and being
a periphrastic study in a worn-out poetical fashion,
leaving one still with the intolerable wrestle
with words and meanings
and the rest
is prayer, observance, discipline, thought and action
on the money'

dying is a habit that's well-known to many

the latter a partial fallacy encouraged by superficial notions of evolution, which becomes, in the popular mind, a means of disowning the past
figlia del tuo figlio,
queen of heaven
but i cannot say where accompanies you
since that one night or evening lost
in time
now, on which your restless
eyes first deciphered her forever
in a garden or patio turned to dust
misquoting virgil
neither from nor towards
at the still point, there the dance is,
but neither arrest nor movement
let them be
and, growing between them, indifference
which resembles the others as death resembles life,
being between two lives - unflowering, between
the live and the dead nettle
attachment to self and to things and to persons, detachment
from self and from things and from persons
the taste of fruit, the taste of water, that face returned to us in dream, the first jasmine flowers of november, the infinite yearning of the compass, a book we thought forever lost, the pulsing of a hexameter, the little key that opens a house, the smell of sandalwood or library, the ancient name of a street, the colourations of a map, an unforeseen etymology, the smoothness of a filed fingernail, the date that we were searching for, counting the twelve dark bell-strokes, a sudden physical pain
see, they depart, and we go with them
on a halcyon day it is merely a monument,
in navigable weather it is always a seamark
to lay a course by, but in the sombre season
or the sudden fury, is what it always was
all who have loved me and forgotten
space, time and borges now leaving me
they'll long outlast our oblivion and never know that we are gone


you'll never see the bright moon again, you've now achieved the unalterable sum of moments granted you by fate
and that is where we start
and now, under conditions
that seem unpropitious
that their merely being there means something
that soon we may touch, love, explain
they will be in another, greater,
but what can that matter to them
in the brown baked features
the eyes of a familiar compound ghost
both intimate and unidentifiable