Darkness Visible

Gray Room

Although you sit in a room that is gray,
Except for the silver
Of the straw-paper,
And pick
At your pale white gown;
Or lift one of the green beads
Of your necklace,
To let it fall;
Or gaze at your green fan
Printed with the red branches of a red willow;
Or, with one finger,
Move the leaf in the bowl–
The leaf that has fallen from the branches of the forsythia
Beside you…
What is all this?
I know how furiously your heart is beating.

— Wallace Stevens

Thistle heads on the trail

The Garden Has Gone Mad

Any chance this is the right summer? Any chance
you’ll come and stay, maybe a year or two?
Here, the garden has gone mad – everything out –
the china broken among these tools
that we have made up to make up –
shears, trowels, a silver-plated emerald-encrusted
shovel, all swallowed up by your absence.
I love our blue hearts. I think often
what it is to wake up in this
waterflesh and then gather rosemary.
What it is to live in this wide house
all alone and smother the ghost
that tells me to do, to do, to do, 
like a train. The orchids have grown teeth
in their mouths. As an aside, I have come
to believe my hips might be sapphire. Any chance?
Evening, shortly. Outside, the woodlice
hold an amorous feast. And in the evening,
I am very over –

— Miruna Fulgeanu (2020)

“The most remarkable preliminary symptoms were the variations of my need of sleep. After initial spells of insomnia, nightmare and falling asleep by day, I found that my capacity for sleep was becoming more and more remarkable: till the hours I spent in or on my bed vastly outnumbered the hours I spent awake; and my sleep was so profound that I might have been under the influence of some hypnotic drug. For two days, meals and the offices in the church — Mass, Vespers and Compline — were almost my only lucid moments. Then began an extraordinary transformation: this extreme lassitude dwindled to nothing; night shrank to five hours of light, dreamless and perfect sleep, followed by awakenings full of energy and limpid freshness. The explanation is simple enough: the desire for talk, movements and nervous expression that I had transported from Paris found, in this silent place, no response or foil, evoked no single echo; after miserably gesticulating for a while in a vacuum, it languished and finally died for lack of any stimulus or nourishment. Then the tremendous accumulation of tiredness, which must be the common property of all our contemporaries, broke loose and swamped everything. No demands, once I had emerged from that flood of sleep, were made upon my nervous energy: there were no automatic drains, such as conversation at meals, small talk, catching trains, or the hundred anxious trivialities that poison everyday life. Even the major causes of guilt and anxiety had slid away into some distant limbo and not only failed to emerge in the small hours as tormentors but appeared to have lost their dragonish validity.”

— Patrick Leigh Fermor, A Time to Keep Silence

Travelling Together

If we are separated I will
try to wait for you
on your side of things

your side of the wall and the water
and of the light moving at its own speed
even on leaves that we have seen
I will wait on one side

while a side is there

W.S. Merwin (1988)

Newborough

Hesitate to Call

Lived to see you throwing
Me aside. That fought
Like netted fish inside me. Saw you throbbing
In my syrups. Saw you sleep. And lived to see
That all. That all flushed down
The refuse. Done?
It lives in me.
You live in me. Malignant.
Love, you ever want me, don’t.

Louise Glück (1968)

Birds flying past a red sun