Caught in the thought-tangled thicket
The ram by its horns grows weary:
How begin to die? A child no longer
A child asks his question to the stone
He sat on waiting. He throws in time.
He throws in the wary mind grown
Weary: watchfulness has its weight:
Astonishments patience dulls into facts
Sourceless and tame: wonder
Followed by a shadow called shame.
What first stuns later causes sleep:
The sun, the absent sun:
At the end of the equation, the sum.
How begin to add it up? A man
Only a man says age overcame me:
Not as hound, an hind—
Not as fear, the eye:
But as a sparrow overcomes a crumb
Or as a sparrow settles on the egg she broods:
The answer feels larger than the question.
Look down. Those ashes are my shadow
Left on the stone where I did not exactly
Sleep. All those centuries I thought
The work required needs only these few years:
Gentle drift of pronouns, each into each,
Where gradually I wake to the question
How was the night? and say, “It dreamed.”
It dreamed. And the next day it went to work.
It fed the children, and it read a book.
At night it washed its face without a look
In the mirror. Some vision harms the eye
That sees it. Some song hurts the ears—
Out the rags of the clouds was it a voice
Spoke those red words? Behold, it said.
Take who you love most and go, it said,
To the mountains. I carry now
What I carried then: some rope, a bunch
Of sticks tied to my back: a body
Can bear wood enough for the fire
That consumes it. Not much is needed:
Just a hand, just a spark. Then I carried
What I carry now: now
It can’t be seen, the wood: now
The wood’s invisible: the rope a thin line
Coiled around the mind
To hold together what falls apart:
Thought, thought, I thought—
And throat, throat, and some heart
Loose and astray that wants to, but cannot
Mend its way, its prayer: bind me
Tighter. Tighter. Be violent. Give repair.