Sunday, December 28, 2008

Another Country


It's part of our hominid heritage,
being able to glimpse the doors:
primates who couldn't see the hungry,
hawkheaded deities slipping in
from other countries didn't last long.

By the time you see an entrance
it's usually too late. You're already past it.
And a sudden swerve, of course, slams
that particular door once and for all.


But sometimes you round a headland
with the wind just right, and a bay opens,
the scent of apple blossom on the light breeze,
and you sail sweetly in. You'll never find this way again.

Once in, you must observe a thousand pieties.
You thank everything you eat. You give a kiss
to every witch that asks. You leave the cup
of wine by the well. You take off your clothes before
climbing into a strange bed, no matter how cold.
You use each gift only as the giver intended.

To live strictly is one of the reasons we come.
We get tired of this world's slovenly half-hearted
consequences, its prudery and prudence,
its cavils and caveats. We want to be
where edges cut.

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