Sister saying—‘Soon you'll be back in the ward,'
sister thinking—‘Only two more on the list,'
the patient saying—‘Thank you, I feel fine';
Not Adlestrop, no - besides the name
hardly matters. Nor did I languish in June heat.
Simply, I stood, too early, on the empty platform,
and the wrong train came in slowly, surprised, stopped.
The gods, old as night, don't trouble us.
Poor weeping Venus! Her pubic hairs are grey,
and her magic love girdle has lost its spring.
Singing, today I married my white girl
beautiful in a barley field.
Green on thy finger a grass blade curled,
A heritage of a sort.
A heritage of comradeship and suffocation.
When the snake bit
Rabbi Hanina ben Dosa
while he was praying
White coat and purple coat
a sleeve from both he sews.
That white is always stained with blood,
Late, I have come to a parched land
doubting my gift, if gift I have,
the inspiration of water
Some prowl sea-beds, some hurtle to a star
and, mother, some obsessed turn over every stone
or open graves to let that starlight in.