Mirror in February
The day dawns with scent of must and rain, Of opened soil, dark trees, dry bedroom air. Under the fading lamp, half dressed - my brain Idling on some compulsive fantasy- I towel my shaven jaw and stop, and stare, Riveted by a dark exhausted eye, A dry downturning mouth. It seems again that it is time to learn, In this untiring, crumbling place of growth To which, for the time being, I return. Now plainly in the mirror of my soul I read that I have looked my last on youth And little more; for they are not made whole That reach the age of Christ. Below my window the awakening trees, Hacked clean for better bearing, stand defaced Suffering their brute necessities, And how should the flesh not quail that span for span Is mutilated more? In slow distaste I fold my towel with what grace I can, Not young and not renewable, but man.
Dreams fled away, this country bedroom, raw With the touch of the dawn, wrapped in a minor peace, Hears through an open window the garden draw Long pitch black breaths, lay bare its apple trees, Ripe pear trees, brambles, windfall-sweetened soil, Exhale rough sweetness against the starry slates. Nearer the river sleeps St. John's, all toil Locked fast inside a dream with iron gates. Domestic Autumn, like an animal Long used to handling by those countrymen, Rubs her kind hide against the bedroom wall Sensing a fragrant child come back again - Not this half-tolerated consciousness That plants its grammar in her yielding weather But that unspeaking daughter, growing less Familiar where we fell asleep together. Wakeful moth wings blunder near a chair, Toss their light shell at the glass, and go To inhabit the living starlight. Stranded hair Stirs on still linen. It is as though The black breathing that billows her sleep, her name, Drugged under judgement, waned and - bearing daggers And balances--down the lampless darkness they came, Moving like women : Justice, Truth, such figures.