October at the Window
from April Galleons (1987)
Do I really want to go to the city? Here there are light and cats And birds that live in the sky And metal that must be painted or It will rust, that causes deep brooding Down among the plants and whatever insects And small animals there are there. A splash of snow bursts along Green buildings and the emptiness opens Out along my arms like a magic thing, A specimen of some kind. Always There are instances, like the sea, The sky, and paper. The landscape is too long For what it will accommodate (towers, The lack of cold). The posthumous spyglass Of the author lies, alert. The works Of Thomas Lovell Beddoes fall open And are sick and alive, books of iron, and faintly gilded In the dim light of the early nineteenth century. Someone traveled there once, and observed Accurately, and became “the observer,” But with so much else to do This figure too got lost, charged In the night, to say what had to be said: “My eyes are bigger than my stomach.” And so life goes on happening As in a frontier novel. One must always Be quite conscious of the edges of things And then how they meet will cease To be an issue, all other things Being equal, as in fact they are. But do these complex attitutdes Compete successfully with the sounds Of bedlam and the overhead lighting there Of which Clare wrote so accurately “But still I read and sighed and sued again,” Noting in despair the times of day, The hair of fields, the way we go Willingly into another’s arms and back? Wrack bleaches on tidal sand. A moth is caught in my lamp To make it light the true way, Pastel fields where only He who comes to save says the single, Enameled word that outlives us. That there are flowers in shacks, broken Mirrors among fallen doorposts Doesn’t trip us up so much, rather It’s the lesson, unlearned, whose wry whimper, Hidden among congruent pages, tells The story of how we were and how we were meant to be.