for Jibanananda Das

I can only offer you what I have offered to none, a time or two staying
sudden and subtle and strong and far-off and lost and quick
in the deep of the mind – snow cold like a star on the tongue and light and thick
and intricate to a child’s touch – two yellow spiders playing
on a web in a fir-tree wood – do they know I am here? – I can watch the yellow delaying
of the day for ever, in my short-trousered age – and sometimes, too, I would flick
a penknife sharp at a soft-bark trunk, till at last it would sink and stick –
only to you can I offer these lost and lodged-in-me moments – the smell and the saying

of a poem of the past – all those small times – once, it seemed, I knew
where all the birds’ nests were, then the time went – once, too
I ventured into a field of tall red flexible poppies and saw over the top
where a stile was and took for ever to find a way to it – once, statue still, I admired the view
of my elbows-akimbo in shadow, they were like tiger’s eyes – poet, this I offer you

something of mine, something I have offered to none, something that does not stop –

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