O Mei Pueri

O my boys you have come to me when I could not sleep
you have borrowed my back and made light of my mind
and charged me downstairs to the door
It is bright morning and we are at the Common
part of the breeze scuttling round the grass
in with the solid trees and out to the scuffle and lisp
on the pond. Boots pierce water’s miracle
breaking into a giving resistant clearness
so freshly wet. The red boots of one sail in
almost submerge but somehow see sense – and the rubber
fools safely against the water. Here comes the other
the small black boots prod at the ocean’s shallows
here comes the beach-ball to be booted away.
O my boys you have climbed with me when I could not sleep
out and up and over a high green mound
and shrilled at a helicopter near the sun.
That place of the mounds is the household of a presence
an old bell under the ground
ringing its stillness in the hills and trees.
The red-boots’ anorak flies about him: he runs
headlong into the woods. The other one’s not to be seen,
so he shouts from the back of my neck. In the wood we throw sticks
and veer by a treacherous guide-line, the mudpath that leads
after a phase of blackberries, a few climbed trees,
a crossed waterfall, a magical changing carpet
of leaves and leafmould, the Taj Mahal path of the ground,
and various other delights, to the clearing, our car.
O my boys you are with me in my wildest wandering
and since you have been I can sleep. And since you have been
my bright day may at last away, in sleep.

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