Saturday, October 13, 2007

Four Directions

Life comes gently to the southern people

That there are
Women who undress in a single gesture
Locking eyes before the gown has quite finished
Crumpling to the floor

That there are
Griefs that run a course of tears and are done
And anger that flares once like a match, blown out
With laughter

That there are
Chances of disaster reckoned too small
To bother with, and abandoned,
Leaving no trace

Life comes harshly to the northern people

That there are
Loyalties that never waver, promises made in the morning
That hold until evening, and wreaths laid on memorial day
for a Normandy soldier

That there are
Plans laid for next year's crops, wills carefully drawn up
And hedged with codicils, and no disaster so unlikely
That it goes unanguished

That there are
Well kept houses bequeathed to prodigal sons
Unfaltering care for wayward husbands, and cancers
Kept secret out of love

Life comes in sequence to the western people

That there is
One king one god one law, that things are
Exactly as they appear to be, and there are cameras
That do not lie

That there is
A reason for everything and everything in its reason
And light that does not curve, and irreducible

That there is
A way to take everything to bits and a way
To put it back together just as it was, only
Understood this time

Life comes obliquely to the eastern people

That there are
Consequences too many to be numbered
The stumbling weariness of ten thousand lives
Bound to the wheel

That there are
Defeats more precious than victories, jewels
Hidden in the mud, drunken saints slumped
In the whorehouses

That there are
Kindnesses beyond reason and more grist
Than can ever be milled; and that there is at last
A stillness

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