Daughter of Death
O beloved daughter of death, mother of life,
All these things return
To one small turning of the hand, fingers
Hesitating on a doorknob, in the red slant light
Of day's end, in the glow of the apple petals.
Darling, the generations ripple past,
Rings on the water, faster than the years
When I still counted --
We reach into the spaces of the past, wishing
We could return a childhood to those who had none.
But it is delicate, handling the past;
It crumbles under our touch, the grit slides
Between our fingers. Better not to speak.
Love. I will go on saying that word, not
Because it means what I mean, but because
Nothing means what I mean. You see?
Again it rises. You see? There, where
Venus trembles in the west, where the dark hills
Crowd together. That's where it is born;
We go calling it through daybleach and sungloom
But always, it finds our backs.
No one finds it. It finds us.
If I could string together all the beads of this love
I would hang them around your neck
My darling daughter of death, mother of life;
I would bring you a poem to astonish
Tree and stone, water and wheel,
The bloody sunset, the stained petals,
The opening sky, the veins of cloud,
The long shadows and the closing door.