Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Monday, January 17, 2005

My Island of Farewells (Jan. 15, 2005)

Did I say that you left me
upon that crashed now
ebbing shore? Surely it
was I who chose to
leave first so many
times down the years,
so much so that I’m
your better or worser
half in getting back
to the shoreless sea.
How many times
was it who who
left behind the
shape of human heart
leaving it wonder
where the hell I’d gone?
Of course those lonely
shadows staring out
window I never turned
to look back into,
those shades are
not blue to me
but dark- and mistier,
colder fumes arising
from the graveyard
of desire, cursing
every excess I’d
hurled into the soak.
I’ll not name names
nor enumerate those
nights, nor describe
here those isles
I couldn’t wait to
fully awaken on
before heaving ship
to go. Boredom, fear,
heat-fatigue, idiocy --
a legion of crimes
against high love
are linked together in
a ghostly chain
which rattles somewhere
in my life’s reckoning --
not hell but cold
as such, the wintry measure
of how much wrong
one person may commit
against a beloved in
the name of better
beds, more roseate
ends. “I’ll call,” I’d
sing from the door,
a sort of robust last kiss
for that prone form
who had given me all
I’d wanted and how
but could not light
that engaging fire
which mates a night
to the whole ding
dong choir. Outside
the late late night
was always so empty,
the world fast asleep,
a humid mist spooring
out from the groves
as I drove happily
towards home,
creeping ghostlike
into my car’s low beams,
the sighing of my
Calypso lingering
at low tide, calling
Wait to the blue merge
I’d faded into -- wait
goes the surf’s lifelong
refrain -- I hear
it in the cold winds
this morning hauling
through the camphor
and oak trees, revenant
and icy as it plucks
the chords of love
upon a lyre of old guilt.
Girlfriends, wives,
a stepdaughter, cats --
How can I blame you so
for leaving me behind
when I went on to leave
so many in the name of
that singular crime?
Poor fool me, keening
orchestrally inside the
chapel of a long-broken,
sea-drowned heart:
transfixion is the cross
I hang between your
perfect breasts, swinging
from that chain I
link with every cruelty
I’ve hammered in love’s name.


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