"How All Too Soon We've Lost"
How all too soon we've lost everything,
The place to call home, the face
Bright in the night's cold darkness —
How long more can we sustain
This silence? This fireless time.
O, and music that cannot bear
Our agonies — as if the air itself
Were reluctant to carry it,
The mind too light, weightless as it is,
To carry the burdens of our weariness.
So we're stuck with only the heavy
Things, the setting sun, the tree-trunk
Firmly rooted in the clinging earth,
Those far-away mountains we'll never
Reach; even the spider-web
Bears us down, as we are entangled
In it. The near-invisible made suddenly
Solid by our touch. And all so unexpected...
Could we have lived for an eternity
With only gentleness? Your tenderness was all.
Then your mind materialized,
To make all these plans vanish,
Your heart lost somewhere amongst forests
Of thoughts, swarms of practicalities.
And of this world. Couldn't you have been
Satisified with the invisible? ...
Broken glass, falling like snow...
And the leaves, rotting into nothingness.
O, why must this rotting be,
If nothingness had never changed to leaves
In the first place ... if the seed had not
Fallen into fertile soil, or if the ground
Were not soft enough for the pushing sprout ...
O no, you wouldn't be happy with just
This faded state. You had to be.
And being required going somewhere else,
For as you well know, the stagnant
Must move on or they will die.
In this world, at least.
So all goodbyes have gone.
I must start again, deep
Within the silence of the mind,
Where the ability to speak has long
Been forgotten or never learned,
Where singing and music have
No meaning. Only the darkness,
Darkness has shapes and forms
In language we cannot speak,
Or sense. — There must be those things
Which go beyond, which can neither
Be expressed nor sensed: such as
Utter loss. To see always the eyes
Moving away, turned somewhere else,
In the act of turning, of denial, refusal,
The intensity now changed. — Shifted,
The light cast now on another place.
Slipping from the hand another warm hand
Into the cold night. The last flash
Of eyes like lightning. — Then gone.
The thunder rages through the heart.
Can we not escape these acts of refusal?
O how the tired dust falls
After a storm. O how it covers
The antique furniture, the piano
Nobody's played for years, the bookshelf
With the cluttered books telling us how
To live our lives. As if anyone could
Tell us how to lift ourselves from
Resting. To explain: that is not to transfer
One's experience to another. When you
Rise from sleep, I must remain.
My dreams are separate.
—Then is that the solution,
To remain in the inner darkness
Even when the sunshine has cast
Away the last of storms and thunder?
O you tell me to be strong.
Is it the strength to turn back time,
Or call the dead back to life,
Outdeceiving even Poseidon?
O no, when the dead walk, they will
Doubtless walk softly, and so condemn
Themselves. So the silence in my
Memories: there can be only visions,
And even the experiences are separate,
They must exist for themselves alone,
As if they are part of a tired sleeper's mind.
They must remain behind,
As if the dying must, visible yet invisible.
And yet, and yet, our striving's directed
Towards that resurrection! Out of silence
The voice longs to be heard, and understood.
Even to be heard —! And that the mind,
Another heart, should hold that voice fast
And faithfully! Can we not realize that
All life must meet in what is gone?
All these lives meet at the point
Where all voices mean nothing,
Only as words thrown out like sounds
And these meaningless alphabets
Of so contrived construction.
Their shapes, the initials of our names,
They look like cracks in a cave wall, —
What chance threw them together
Into such an array! They they must
Fall apart, back into the ever-dark
Of the inner cave, read by only lost
Travellers (with the last of their lantern-light)
Whose minds have long since gone.
How strange it is, that only when
We impose our wills upon a thing,
It moves away, and comes only
When unbidden! Again, the unexpected...
(Why, when we wish for that solemn shape
Whose beauty in the sunshine would appear
If it ever reached it — why it must
Never leave the dark caverns,
Rendered meaningless by our own desires,
Rendered motionless by our own activity.)
O, how we build statues and monuments
Of the invisible! — And thus frozen.
Where the monument indestructible,
And suddenly overnight the idol brought
To earth, the hero made human,
Nevertheless it would stand, symbol
Of our illusions. Could we not erect
A statue of our disilluionments?
O wide open animal stare into the night.
The starless open darkness. Your mind
Has lost all understanding. O feel
The nightwind carry only itself,
Pass through you, taking nothing of
Yourself with it. And yet you would want
It, wouldn't you, to be a single note
To ride upon the wind and sing
To all the stars as you pass them by... ?
O, only the enclosure within oneself,
Everything must remain here,
Except that which is weightless
And which is passing, as petals
Floating on flowing water. Carried.
As stars held up by the fabric of
The sky, their bodies kept from falling...
O fire, burn yourself out, out,
And with all this heaviness inside you
Feel love pass away... sing, sing
Yourself to sleep. Even in your dreams
You cannot make a statue of the rising sun...