Today, I'd wind my way towards tongues
where the past is a very short word
written and pronounced the same, keeping a certain
consistency during all those backwards tugs.
The same with the past of others
As when you tap me on the arm
and I turn, the wave is just rolling back
and I can study its sharp fingers, lines,
threads of foam which will quicker vanish
than let themselves be tangled up. To tie them
somehow with those bathing a few feet away
is not easy either, more of them since yesterday.
It's easier with that ridge of rocks on the shore
which is today risen above. Sit down,
this is a very serious ocean,
you won't wade any further, don't go in, it says,
it is me who is wooing you.
transport me to the other side
of the day, after noon, or else along
this narrow balk, which (look down)
could appear to be a river
or move from the first to the second
half of this page. These are not two capitals
in neighbouring states furthest
from each other.
Because, say, to really winter the days
when in Europe not all the
chestnuts are completely diseased
and the tongue draws tissue samples
from some prehistoric shape?
And maybe it was rhythm? Ah,
to become all ears!
Because come evening (which sounds like ring-
ring) I waited for your car to arrive,
but maybe it was a phone call, and if these phrases
do not intersect, if this is how it is to be,
then this is how it seems it will be.
A joining of fire and earth
does not preclude union. Look,
see how the elements pass by in order,
see how the elements pass by in disorder.
They say: join in pairs
things identical, join dots
with lines, how to draw stars –
practice by tracing arrows.
Meanwhile, here is a carton full of “mix
following fire”, down below, in a room
“various papers, mostly nothing”.
This mixture is itself,
as long as you keep it moving,
you might be moved by this stream
of words, a window shape which wavers
according to the sun's measures
and a naked lightbulb: there is a desk,
a low ceiling, glass, a tall barrier,
its absence, and more steps,
that clay-filled bathtub,
which has its rhyme, that photo,
that thermometer, a nut tree, nuts, he,
needles prised from walls
(because they weren't leaves)
that's not all –
sculpting shores, most capably
that salt, mountain of solid. After noon
it's like burning coals.
Will it turn to ash? And who will gather
it in handfuls? Scatter across the ice?
Will someone wrap it in a coat?
“Fragile. Handle with care”.
Two Snaps from Otwock
And so you see, who will believe
in reprints, sources?
An acacia grove: this is the house
where he once lived. It is no longer here.
An upended pine tree, sand, tyre tracks:
and this was to be yours, Mine –
you say – and then it's gone from you.