A sudden check, a falter, almost a stumble,
oh my dear, for the loveliest eyes, and
I reach for my purse to scatter -- what currency?
Nothing avails both here and there.
If I flung this gold over the river,
dead leaves would fall on the further bank.
The bridge can be neither yours nor mine.
Forget the silly arguments from design,
Plato's maunderings laundered by Aquinas;
there is an argument deeper than those.
Someone is building these bridges, or
hints of a crossing. I know it is neither of us:
who has that kind of strength?
You asked how I could believe:
I could only answer, how could I not?
It is the impossibilities, the echoes
of that beloved voice, the lives that have crossed
from here, to there, and back. You hear of them
in the beetle-backed gossip of old poems,
and you know it's true:
There is not braggart or bluster
in all the world, with heart to make that boast.
Still. We began, and we end, in the sadness
of a stranded shore, and useless coin.
Sleep, then. You see him more clearly in dreams:
walking carefully underground, holding his little lamp.
Don't try to keep up: you can't. It is not for this life
to catch the one who wanders in the earth,
or even to find the bridge traced in the air,
the lines glinting where the sun catches them,
invisible else; you can look through a long lifetime
and still fail. But long after, the footfalls
echo in some other dream, and make a music
in the mind of another someone
maybe not wise, nor good
except at listening. But start there, and catch
a leaf that rustles from the canopy.
You cannot spend it on that side,
but you can know it came from this.