Saturday, October 31, 2009

the wearied melodist.

Recognise the tapestry,
proud against the wall.
Some of the stories are mine,
echoed bright in felt, in old books, paint
on tall museum walls: arching trees
all woven near my roads.

Great parade, they march so long.
All these strands: my home,
these faces like my own, music rich
and threads all dyed to fill
a circling sky.

Faded and unwoven pages,
under earth and time.
Do you know your names?
Buried shouts unheard,
once loud; linger. Here
I stay so long, near silent strangers,
names and homes that I
have never known.

We can hear the first sound.
It runs across plains to find the sea,
and we sleep within its borders.
Three streams flow among us,
but the fourth is lost
to we who have not learnt
to drink, retrace our steps.

Giants wandered there. Secrets all lay open,
as if nothing else had been—
held in simpler words than songs,
for your lives were long.
Rhyme soon born to sounds all new;
we born next, to new arms, all astray
beneath the sun. There were cities then.
Little we conceive, if hardly we can see.

Now we only breathe, and then forget,
like so many lines torn out.
No wedge in my songs is sharp enough
to pierce and fill your fame.
Such ordinary days, so far away.

Grace for his soul,
and honey for his throne:
we walk far from the trees and read
those marvels, tales of younger days.
Here is the bird who built a nest in
branches bound by iron and stone.
Empty words, our fear, acclaim;
battles waged, and burdens laid,
so long ordained.

Those we find incongruous,
or words of years and wars of kings;
my shelf holds room for more.
Where were the homes and towns,
dust now, once filled with the bustle
of hours? Who are you there,
standing in the farthest field?

Miniature world, my tower of years.
Blood as quick as mine, and I
could walk beside you,
hold my arms out wide.

Typewriter clanged with the letters of you.
In the house I read them, lake of
faceless gaze; and all these streets
you rode, the things you thought
and words you spoke, particular.
I pour myself through cavities
all charred, so I turn my eyes.

Whose were the arms
so immediate, warm, when you fell
that night? Even then a stranger.
Eyes that knew an older world
than mine or yours,
and words I can’t translate.
In that moment, not alone,
the cold floor.

Where was he born? Silent days
where he found the words
I softly learn to sing.

This is the cloak I now wear and receive.
Fingers, wind these threads
among your own.

Wait for the time
when hidden things untangle,
all that was scattered reclaimed.
Weave in me
the secret lives and scenes
that only you can read.

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