Night Poem XVII

Who can resist the night,
disobey her giant’s arms?
See how she dims their fierce lives,
for her dark palms are cribs,
and in them lie, in equal count,
lizards and women.

They accept this,
the soft erasure of their finite span,
and call it sleep.
Given a name, sleep becomes part
of the logical momentum of our
feverish accumulations.

But sometimes one, quite inexplicably,
yet filled with strange expectation,
refuses to close his eyes,
and waits up into the night’s deep realm.

And he discovers in her deserted streets,
her rustling orchards,
an amplified existence,
weird noises that echo
the weirdness of his own soul.

What the boys and girls bestowed and
named with songs and rumours,
the night assiduously removes.
What he used to call bird cries,
could now be wind, could be colours.

What once was wakefulness
is now pure tension,
the promised vibration of his fear and longing.
And the day bestows, and the night effaces.

And he walks on through her deserted streets,
out of language, out of landscape,
until his name has no meaning,
and is only a chord struck on the night’s enormous bell.

Night Poem IV

Voices sleep in the night,
bodies quiet and alone,
all cries drawn inward,
and love kept in its hold.
Anger subdued in its kennel,
and regret floating above their eyes.

Trusting the night,
bodies laid out,
display unearthly banquets
for the devouring moon.
They are infinitely fragile,
the most brutal hands,
the most vehement lips.

I sit at my window,
and the air is thick
with the voices of sleeping animals,
the ancestral echoes of dreams,
the long dead in their earth,
and the death preparers,
cradling their sweethearts
in the white sheets of the living.

I sit awake with the
self-forgetting all around me,
like a witness
to the night that goes
erasing their brief bodies,
and I am sad,
and I am in love.

Savage Night (Owl Song)

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Listen, that one voice
translating the night.
Suddenly, I too speak
from the owl’s dark mouth,
the way the night
speaks through holes
the trees bore into the stars,
those sky wounds.
A single voice, a lament of wings,
the lament that soars with dreams.
I had thought my life
like an impenetrable hour,
a warm stone held
in the palm of my silent heart,
until the owl came
to cry beyond my window,
that messenger,
crying the savage night.