Darkness Visible


Both of us felt it: That day was an island,
strewn with rocks and lighthouses and lovers,
in the generous ocean. On the mainland,
people went about their business, eating
the Times, glancing through coffee and oatmeal,
as we walked the gangway into an original dream
of attentiveness, as if a day’s pleasure
could concentrate us as much as suffering,
as if the seawall were a banquet without
surfeit, as if we could walk hand in hand
with no one nearby, as if silence and blue
wind became an Atlantic cove to float in,
and the air centered itself in small purple
butterflies flitting among the weed flowers.
In the darkening city we returned to,
our privacy completed the cafés of strangers

Donald Hall