Poem for my Daughter
Sometimes there is nothing left but to look at the sea
sliding, sliding and crying on the deserted floor.
How many voices sound out? Still as stones on the shore
are they now, all the colourful bits, that were, and died,
that were, and still are touched by the helpless tide.
And ignorance becomes knowledge. Hurt becomes love. I see
sometimes, when I stand in my half-life, a workshop of wonder.
And then all I wish to do is to be part for ever
of a construction. The wind will blow all my words asunder
but there is a poetry so deep that it will hold
even such words as these, my wastrel words. They never
quite go, my flying wastrel words, but are rolled
back, back. Sometimes there is nothing left but to stand on the edge
of a shore of terror. Nothing is understood and all
is present. Flood and stones. Sea’s blood. Earth’s bones. Do not look away,
this is a poetry without God. A bird on a cliff-edge
an instant, then never never. Only a bird-call
shrieks, a shard of silence, above the ivory spray.
I am full of time. Sliding, sliding and crying,
not sea, not gulls, not wind, but the thud and shift
of the lines of a poem. A making and breaking. Not with the mind
but with my time I am ready to catch the drift.
Beauty is the way of it. It is not a matter of dying
in a static of God-speak. Merely not to have been blind
to beauty. And that is a making and growing. I will tell you
of a darling of my life. Imagine the wild sea, the shore
lit from inside. Take note of a song-dance of wind
tuned to the great sun, accountable to its own law.
Picture, if you can, a loving soul, determined
to travel in a wave-freedom, in touch with land’s deep-set value.
Time turns her to thirteen. Almost, it seems, a hand of guidance
is offered, beyond this being. Under the tide’s breath
the colourful pebbles murmur. Something more than life or death
is hereabouts. She too is informed by that recurrent whisper.
She knows, as I do, of an underlying cadence.
For her then these words, these flying wastrel words, to die or to prosper.