‘Amo!’ Four walls constrict great purposes
To vex themselves, Halve the halved moment, keen
To rap out ‘Hold!’ (The tune congeals) display
Amo not yet complete Amavit, fresh
Amo condensing out of silence. Tune
On unstopped ears bursts frantically again;
Horizon marches, Future is coming You,
Your cheek’s arisen overwhelming arc,
And You a nailbreadth or a pulsebeat hence
You here? Which you? As lids unclose, the You
Crushing a cigarette-end in a saucer,
You in a kitchen, drinking, wet with snow,
Confound the present You. Past is not yours:
Alone, I found the sheep skull in the grass,
Alone, amazed by death, life passes like
The flashing train, thaws Time to evening thoughts—
I said ‘Good-night!’ and hid them. This and This,
Once alien, are acquainted, lacking You.
Good-night, good-night! Desire has lost its way,
Aimless for faces rather there than here,
And vows are episodes; what is, is I.
As listless as a child, playing alone
On darkened afternoons, I hear the wind
Driven across the ignorant sea, the ground,
To hurt itself on panes, on bark of elm,
Where sap unbaffled rises, being Spring.
‘Quique amavit cras amet’—So thoughts
Draw circles round a name, worshipping air,
Divine the world’s end round the corner, breast
The hill “Θαλασσα” ready on the tongue,
Snap at the dragon’s tail, astonished yelp.
This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 12 Number 10, on page 35
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