What Is This Virulence (For Clara Rosa).
What is this virulence that eats at the cloth on the altar,
riddling its foam like the sea's lace, the space between the holes
or the fibre that knits them, the sound of the turned Psalter
multiplied into beating wings? There is no simile for our souls
if they are winged but insubstantial, there is no sound
like the coveys whirring from grass, silent as the elusive shoals
of mackerel from the brain's coral, shadows racing over sand.
Bright day, rippled morning, breakers and strokes of white sails
and a hymn rising from the morning pews, lace of the altar,
lace of white foam, opening wings of the Psalter,
widening wings of the frigate bird and the tilting gull,
at this very hour, in different islands, are they all one sound,
the mute hymn of glory, the organ groundswell of death, both
and one? Rest, Clara Rosa. They all share a common ground.
And no sea is heavier than my heart, which is full
Of salt and the morning and the mourning; it has rained.
Back to earth, clear rose, close the wrinkled petals of your eyes!
The leaves sparkle, the grass is beaded, sorrow dries
from the concrete patches. Now they are taking you where
repetition and process continue, the sea, the blue days,
the fire of our flowers, the seraphic, the infinite air.
Which your red mouth is part of now, with its loud, easy laughter.