Paris is romantic, everybody knows,
And that may be, but I doubt
It could be less so to me, trying
To sleep – “Do you hear? Go to sleep” –
Now, hard against Lisa’s bed,
In mine, as she said.
The pity of it. To see
Her turn on her hips where she lies,
Showing in the half-dark night
Her body rise, dividing
Her gown from the sheet.
So near, and she says sleep.
To have seen how she undresses,
Lifting her legs from her tights –
To see the elastic pressing
Her thighs in her pants,
The straps fall off her shoulders –
And nothing allowed to my hands.
Now this, and not a month ago
She lay all in my arms for loving,
Brushing and pressing
Her breasts on my chest. But that
Was in England, deep in its sodden farms.
As good now as if it were not us.
No sooner thought than I admit
Such complaint is wasted,
Mere embarrassment of sexuality.
If I was in your bed,
Could touch close these new distances,
Bring unwilling head to head?
My desire, it’s true, is the usual thing –
As body itself is ordinary –
Readily aroused and
Just as easily diverted
By physicality, by what is new.
You doubt, I know, that I want you.
But where is the beginning of feeling?
You were a foreign girl,
And I saw you dancing, and you laughed
As you danced, and you danced
With another girl.
That was how I saw you, I and my friends.
And beautiful you were, more beautiful
Than any on the floor. You alone
I saw, as if we were known
Each to each already, and yet
I wasn’t lonely for another,
Nor you. It was not why we were there.
You sleep, and the years past
Might be nothing now –
A single night. And there were a few
Till I was let beneath the sheet,
When it was new to kiss your mouth,
And my hands were privateers.
But later, O my pretty fish,
We played! I couldn’t run a bath
But you must be there, and bath too,
Filling the jug to pour on me,
Standing while I rinsed you. Remember.
But time, like sleep, is a barricade.
Memory, revived, turns to fantasy:
All this makes up the past,
As a boat, a toy, of our own making
Pushed away from a shore.
We see nothing but as it shifts,
And then we see it no more.
But this must be less than all of it.
If things were lost
When they were finished,
If things were finished ever,
What is would vanish with any imagining:
It might just as well be dreamt.
Surely, with us in this darkness
Is every thought and feeling
You and I have shared,
And all with a reality
Beyond this pulse and gleam
Of neon coming and going on the wall.
So here is the other half of what it is
That makes us whole: as the ocean
Rounds always into more – in itself
Continuous – so things last in us,
And time, now and past, as
This flickering light in its artificial motion.
Oh, my sweet one, if I could reach,
If I could put it into words –
If there was any means
Off this beach of our existence –
If we could travel freely on these seas,
We would see it clean.
Time is not a line, but expansion,
Including everything that went before,
And you and I are lovers
Whatever happens more. And love,
This is freedom, it is vision,
While we move up and down the shore.
Now I see it truly, as if I drew
Aside the curtains to look
Out from the earth, to see,
Beyond our lights, the whole
Opening from its birth – where
We are ever in all our nights of loving.
For time is a thing within us:
Our lives expand around it, as our universe
Into it. It is annexed out of nothing,
Contained ever in expansion,
And in time itself there is no moving.
So being is an endless reaching:
For us, a glimpse on glimpse
Of something sure, as moment after
Moment more rolls into infinity,
As in a room in darkness,
Turning in your sleep.
Originally appeared on VoegelinView Read More