The Glimpse

I catch an unexpected glimpse
of far-off rooves, black windows and
some towers and arches, chimney-tips . . .
and I am in a foreign land.
I do not try to understand
this transportation (for I see
the same as I have often scanned . . . )
but let the newness conquer me.
It could be anywhere, man-made
for habitation, man-designed
for to-ing, fro-ing, worship, trade
and learning. And I see, half-blind,
a city into which you gaze.
A different time of day, you travel
a different tack, down different ways –
with the odd moment on a level.
At such an instant, though in space
a country and a sea apart –
a place becomes a different place –
we meet, admitted to the heart.
And no coincidence is here;
for while one sleeps the other may
be lost and found. What is most near
makes no account of night and day.


Together and forever now
we shall continue what was good.
In Eden first did I and thou
interpret tune of flower and wood,
and find the song that water made,
and so, through the first years of man
a music took us. As it played
a kind of savage dance began:
wind and thunder, fire and rain
deafened and rang and blew; we saw
a war-cry blossom in the brain;
the moon-god shriek; long columns pour
through tropic and harsh waste for food.
We saw the patience of a few
become a whole tribe’s fortitude.
We heard new words for things that grew;
and saw the frame of laws encage;
and listened to new learning’s cry;
saw gold recovered on the page;
saw air-ships penetrate the sky;
saw comets tracked; saw hearts replaced;
saw money flood; and rung on rung
the ladder snapped of human taste;
heard symphonies of robots sung;
we saw the Earth become a star
where no more humans are; we sailed
to where new life-forms singing are . . .
still our companionship prevailed.


When you look up from task or book,
or nothing much at all, and see
an archetypal hint or look
presented by normality,
a sharply-curving olive-tree
that bears the fruit of aeons ago,
the corner of a room – and free
a presence often not let go –
could it not be a city stands
of life, of which we were a part?
And now we live in different lands,
perhaps pin-pointed on a chart
that stretches over time, through space
unseen, we still together stay –
so I looked up, and seemed to face
Eternity . . . and looked away.

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