A small, billowing, clear plastic bag
With a press-strip closure – one
Strip yellow, the other blue – now
Open-mouthed, accompanies me,
Tumbling beside my footfalls
For several metres along the path,
And halts, caught in a fallen branch.
The bag held, perhaps, some item
Of a child’s lunch. That eaten, and
This discarded, it joins a litter
Of what was and is that no more;
Joins the practised language of sincerity,
Plastered here on the rear of a bus:
It too emptied of its nourishment.
What words of inheritance, of use,
Hold meaning but the coldly technical?
Those in which the heart found and
Finds expression decay, generation
On generation: ours billowed out
In the work of commerce, made fit
For relationships of like transaction.
How is the language of love to be
Kept and protected, so expression
Is an opening, a sharing, of truth? –
Its truth, surely, a glimpse of eternity –
Perhaps there is no such safety
This side of death, and death sets
An end, so asserted, in our vows.
Yet in death we apprehend the eternal,
First as an imperfect idea, then
In met event – and must we know
Death to know, to understand,
That love in itself is undying? But we
Have been shown that it is, for love
Has entered and overcome death.
I meditate these things as I walk here
In the ordinary suburb of our marriage,
And say to myself at times that it’s
Good you can no longer see this
Or see that which we would resent
And condemn, but all this is seen, has
Its place, in the eternal, which is love.
And we have our place in this too –
Like the passing bus, the little blown bag –
And with every failure, shortfall,
Every incapacity known, we remain
Thus in a comprehensive and
Comprehending ideal, in which we are
Never mere litter but loved without end.
So your death, as I turn and turn to it –
Dear heart – brings the sense of our being
In its fullness to me, showing death
As a place from where I – where we –
Can look on our insufficiency, and
See that it is but our part of a whole,
Beyond all words, all this sorrow.
Originally appeared on VoegelinView Read More