from Ancient Light
What is this ancientnew lighthearted light
in a realm of frozen monumental statuettes?
Kissed to life by a skittish Provençal quintet
named Quitterie? It was by the Thames we met,
in Chelsea, across the road from Cheyne Walk;
I'd been four days already in the capital,
wandering lonely as a crowd. Near the tall
and glittering bridge the houseboats knocked
against the pier. We glanced, and looked again,
awkward to speak. I let you go, far up along the bank;
passed a statue of a naked woman, rank
with fleshlier mettle – but it made me try again!
– caught up with you by the next crossing;
said something passable and mild; compared
our maps, our plans, our lack-of-plans – and fared
together into Chelsea. Bluejays began to sing. . .
It was an alba – Albigensian,
and guileless. We walked together,
barely understood each other –
beginning again and again
with friendly frenglo-angles, tongue to tongue
– piloting, from there to Leicester Square,
between adultery and innocence, aware
that freedom gives the lie – the fIrst rung
on the ladder to those penetrating bells
(if only we ring true). Prodigal children,
Love is prodigal – more prodigal than sin.
So sang the spendthrift preacher of St. Pauls'.
And in the maelstrom under Nelson's gnomon
(sun gone down, St. Martin-in-the-Fields)
granted a graceful Provençal farewell, I sealed
(canonical) my Book of Q (Lips Monastery). Gone.
Another rose window