October 27, 2005
The shattered water made a misty din.
Great waves looked over others coming in,
And thought of doing something to the shore
That water never did to land before.
The clouds were low and hairy in the skies,
Like locks blown forward in the gleam of eyes.
You could not tell, and yet it looked as if
The shore was lucky in being backed by cliff,
The cliff in being backed by continent;
It looked as if a night of dark intent
Was coming, and not only a night, an age.
Someone had better be prepared for rage.
There would be more than ocean-water broken
Before God’s last *Put out the Light* was spoken.
October 25, 2005
A light exists in spring
Not present on the year
At any other period.
When March is scarcely here
A color stands abroad
On solitary hills
That science cannot overtake,
But human naturefeels.
It waits upon the lawn;
It shows the furthest tree
Upon the furthest slope we know;
It almost speaks to me.
Then, as horizons step,
Or noons report away,
Without the formula of sound,
It passes, and we stay:
A quality of loss
Affecting our content,
As trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a sacrament.
October 24, 2005
Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.
We passed the school where children played,
Their lessons scarcely done;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.
We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.
Since then ‘t is centuries; but each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses’ heads
Were toward eternity.
October 22, 2005
Outside the sky is light with stars;
There’s a hollow roaring from the sea.
And, alas! for the little almond flowers,
The wind is shaking the almond tree.
How little I thought, a year ago,
In the horrible cottage upon the Lee
That he and I should be sitting so
And sipping a cup of camomile tea.
Light as feathers the witches fly,
The horn of the moon is plain to see;
By a firefly under a jonquil flower
A goblin toasts a bumble-bee.
We might be fifty, we might be five,
So snug, so compact, so wise are we!
Under the kitchen-table leg
My knee is pressing against his knee.
Our shutters are shut, the fire is low,
The tap is dripping peacefully;
The saucepan shadows on the wall
Are black and round and plain to see.
October 20, 2005
The rows of cells are unroofed,
a flute for the wind’s mouth,
who comes with a breath of ice
from the blue caves of the south.
O dark and fierce day:
the wind like an angry bee
hunts for the black honey
in the pits of the hollow sea.
Waves of shadow wash
the empty shell bone-bare,
and like a bone it sings
a bitter song of air.
Who built and laboured here?
The wind and the sea say
-Their cold nest is broken
and they are blown away-
They did not breed nor love,
each in his cell alone
cried as the wind now cries
through this flute of stone.
October 19, 2005
Acholiland oh acholiland,
The once happy mother of proud warriors,
To you we wail,
For redemption from the fangs of terror,
The terror that bleeds us white,
The terror that siphons your blood
that runs in our veins,
Lambs without a shepherd we remain,
Driven away from you into the darkness,
Mama we yearn for an end to our misgivings,
Do you hear us when we call out to you?
When our cries run our voices frail,
When wantons hunt us, your children down,
The harmony you taught us is no more,
Your children have learnt the little art of
Unfortunately on your very siblings,
Pain is all we feel and grim is what we see,
Blood is what we pay for being your children,
Oh! Mother, spread your wings and redeem
us, to rise and shine again.
October 18, 2005
In bookstores there are no books,
in books no words,
in words no essence:
there are only husks.
In museums and waiting rooms
are painted canvases and fetishes.
In the Academy there are only recordings
of the wildest dances.
In mouths there is only smoke,
in the eyes only distance.
There is a drum in each ear.
A Sahara yawns in the mind.
Nothing frees us from the desert.
Nothing saves us from the drum.
Painted books shed their pages,
becoming husks of Nothing.