The Argument

After a precious week of Indian summer
had carried on
the torch a wet mid-year had let slip – and
itself had gone,

I went out into October skies, the half-light
thick on the hills,
where rain and sun repeatedly took issue:
a battle of wills.

Always in open landscape I am with you,
you who were free
as the elements are themselves, in a hill-setting
to blaze and be.

As fire to the Earth cuts through the pure water of air,
as snow becomes stream,
as woodland thrills to the morning everywhere
with green and gold gleam,

and as a water-expanse with mist above it
and mountains by
wakes and is still, it seems, as though in the region
a seeing eye –

so you spoke out in your being, and caught in silence
words from the sun
and turned to me, that we might fashion an answer.
But I had none.

For months I lay in cloud debating the issue.
For I heard too
a song of gold, that sprang up all about me
and made me new.

I had stepped out from half a lifetime’s cover.
As the sun rose
the story of existence was a poem
that had been prose.

And half was light and half was still in shadow.
As we began
our march, came peace, air-rustling, to betroth us
woman and man.

The sky slipped and the rain down-hurtled: I could not
go, from whom
I’d kept the wind’s worst off: my two rock-flowers
of tender bloom.

But they’d survive: the sun came out: delight
made me believe.
And then the rain swore down across my vision.
I could not leave.

Through all my squalls you kept one purpose; never
did you desert,
and when the lightning of your anger touched me
I knew your hurt

as you felt mine when troubled by the thunder
of my replies.
And all the while I fought as through a maelstrom
to calmer skies.


Now in autumn the argument’s done: the sky
is of one mind,
still light, but grave, as if with nothing to say
on what’s behind

as I return from a time in the hills. The summer
has handed on
its torch, at last, intact: quietly I’m with you
now you are gone.

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