I lie and imagine a first light gleam in the bay
After one more night of erosion and nearer the grave,
Then stand and gaze from the window at break of day
As a shearwater skims the ridge of an incoming wave;
They said I got away in a boat
And humbled me at the inquiry. I tell you
I sank as far that night as any
Hero. As I sat shivering on the dark water
(for James Simmons)
I wake in a dark flat
To the soft roar of the world.
There is an old
statue in the courtyard
that weeps, like Niobe, its sorrow in stone.
What night-rule now about this haunted grove?
The spirits have dispersed, the woods
faded to grey from midnight blue
Surely you paused at this roadside oasis
In your nomadic youth, and saw the mound
Of never-used cement, the curious faces,
(for Seamus Heaney)
First time out
I was a torc of gold
And wept tears of the sun.
Nurses and nuns —
their sails whiter than those
of the yachts in the bay, they come and go
The bright drop quivering on a thorn
in the rich silence after rain,
lute music in the orchard aisles,