In Cladich on a domed isle,
Near no settlement at all,
A great tower points the moon,
Brought whole from west a mile,
From the cool volcanic wall,
What can it wish but for the war
That raves and spits on the sea,
And fills the sky with sound,
Arrive at its door,
And set its rigid form free,
And leave its causeway drowned?
In Cladich on a domed isle,
Now the morning come
And fair-eyed imp awake;
Hand that was numb
And throat that ached,
Quick, take up a pen,
Take up the early song,
Write of now and then,
Recite again the long
Lyric, the monolithic soul:
Aware and enduring,
Already fish hawks are luring
The sun from calm noon,
And the stars are appearing,
Unconcealed by the moon.
Even clouds are clearing
To show the heavenly bore,
What night is revealing:
Voices that sung themselves sore
And fingers unfeeling.
By the guidance of a True Self,
The true selves aim to act:
Blame the covetous taunting
Of a timeless inborn elf,
Whose will they would enact,
But for wanting.
Who will seek the mythic now,
As skeptics now accept the shade
Of almond trees where Nana sat,
And starting from the golden bough,
Who will stray where Yeats had strayed,
And who will call his pale moon cat?
And who among the mythic lot
Could correlate the coming times
With all our proud, unyielding truth?
Yet hold in mind what we ought:
That even Yeats’s spiring rhymes
Symbolize a common youth.
Who dreamed that love was a mutual thing?
To these green eyes, with all confidence,
All, as in the tree’s shade-giving sense,
A wasp could not deliver its sting,
Nor the field its fence.
The lonely world is pacing by:
Among infinites, that clear-eyed clan
Concludes where the lover began:
The talk heard in narrow rooms nearby
Are but echoes of a man.
Who dreamed that love was other
Than fields of vision, false in such halls
Where facing mirrors line the walls,
Or a blue-eyed soul heeding another
Fair-eyed creature’s calls?
She said she was dreaming of a coconut grove. “A coconut grove?” I said. “Where?” On some island somewhere, she said. “Don’t you ever think of traveling, John?” I told her it was mean to say that. She chuffed.
The light in the cafe was expertly manufactured; wherever it fell through the window, banks of mirrors tossed it to the center. “You’ve done a great job with this place,” I said.
She smiled. “I don’t feel the need to be afraid of experimentation anymore.” My heartbeat was a drum and I imagined she could hear it. She gave no sign. “I guess that means I’m getting old.”
By the churning failing terraform, residents of New Lake Fens walk the chert rock paths beside a lime-coloured light. Like fire the terraform flickers against their faces and heavy clothes, their feet slap the flint. The terraform eats more than the echoes of their footsteps; it consumes daily the oxygen they breathe, encroaching ceaselessly on the city. Who was it that said, “Every passing day represents more and more relentlessly subtracted from less and less?” Indeed, how could it be otherwise?