Tityrus lounges in the shade,
Bees lullaby the sleepy glade,
The reed sings soft, soft as the grass—
Then Meliboeus comes to pass,
Sour Meliboeus and his goats,
Their grumblings putting ends to oats.
Thus always when one feels pastoral
Comes some exile with his quarrel.
echo with the ghosts
of almost wholly-lost
but for them
though only airily
the fragile bones
loose as breath
but holding yet
As life lengthens:
Yes the young
But with age
To rummage and mine,
To match a line.
[frame by frame]
I have pieced you together from glimpses
[the swollen black pools of your eyes]
A doll sewn up by candlelight alive
[tumbles of thready hair]
A black-and-white stop-motion film
[your chalk-white back]
Gaps filled in by fancy
[shadows of limbs]
Holes resonating with the peal of ragged breath
[your rising waist]
And the chainlink clinking of a heavying heart
[your fingers delicate on dimpled skin,
the fruitful fullness of your lonesome chin,
the round foundation of your lip-loved cheek,
the turning of your shoulder from your neck]
Now what is cloud and what is hill?
What’s star and what is streetlight?
Sometimes when the evening’s still
Distinction is recondite.
What is land and what is sky
And what’s the sea between them?
Seen from this Portmarnock height
All worlds look one and equal.