But look, the morn in russet mantel clad
walks over the dew of yon high eastward hill.[i]
What he says:
Of course I cannot see his distress.
A blackened bowl is one that makes the most
of the daylight. He is alone, left in the fortress
to have a conversation with a ghost—
‘I want to hold you close,’ is all I say.
Do you believe in ghosts? No light glints from
my disproportionate sight; he had to pray
to me to keep his life, his form, his sum.
All fury is at my dispensation now. To stare,
I see four eyes eyeing my eyes,
one pair medical and concerned, the other pair,
too young to know that death is never fair.
All are seeing in me what he suddenly fears—
the nastiness of ripening him to tears.
What I say:
If only life were like a soapsuds bubble,
or a balloon in a fresh breeze, or dancers
on a ballroom floor—if transience was not
the very essence of a life—but only
its tragic conclusion, if only we
could do to life what it does to us—
experienced dancers all—and make each ghost
see that all hot bodies should not end so cool.
‘Sir, I am not what fear is about.’
It’s shouted plain, but is not heard—
even when poured into a shapeless ear—
because even when it’s whispered, all
that is remembered is a stateless tear—
left to glisten here on another unmade bed.