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';
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.
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.
A heritage of a sort.
A heritage of comradeship and suffocation.
Singing, today I married my white girl
beautiful in a barley field.
Green on thy finger a grass blade curled,
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.