Asphodel’s Room

Here is a silence that needs no outrunning.
Here is a space all superimposed with light
that though night steal upon it, needs no shunning.

Here is a studio for the human knowing,
a scholar’s den, Renaissance woman’s store.
Here are a score of bookshelves overflowing,

a desk of scripts in orderly unneatness . . .
and all around, the valuables of living.
Here is a giving-out, in its completeness,

of some old secret. Look at the indoor plants,
the rustic-embroidered curtains, wicker chairs.
Listen. The airs of ancient songs and chants

are bound among these light walls, in this open
laughter of colours, this clear note of being,
this room, agreeing with all that had to happen,

all, all the past. More than one woman’s life

sings and is seen, whispers and is half-heard,
fades like a wraith in here (and is re-born).
Back to the morning when first life occurred

this room does dancing take you, into the blindness
man made with wars, his struggles, history’s shoving,
force piled on force, into the loving-kindness

woman compelled in man and woman sustained . . .
this blot, this elixir, one drop is here,
one tear, one syllable in this room contained.

And to the future, into the great unknown
these gathered elements of life are locking . . .
a shocking field is sprung, that now is sown . . .

a shaking, sweeping of nerve – yet in this clearing,
this harmony-space, this focus of human time,
I hear (my rhyme hears) something worth the hearing . . .

because the room can say that of one human
the living sense has rhythm that is fine.
It is the unsigned statement of the woman.

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