Crag above dancing roads,
island, sudden solitude, prodigy, sea-
tower gazing at fugitive
boats and clouds ― oh not that you lack
or ever can stop the days' encroachment. Breakers
drive clefts in your caves,
Cape Earth-ward huddles close,
your pine-trees come unkempt, fearing
the sea-depths howling on the move.
You and I erect! And though we happen
to play, at times, foreigners with each other
(the custom being that even love sunders),
you and I together! Since I was born
you watched over my breath; for me you invented
shapes and colours, to give me a chance to live.
And watching me open my eyes each morning
gives you the courage to go on living.
Had I no mornings, who’d re-make you?
Spells of yours fill my senses:
dust-clad, foam-grassed wind, .
the sky with its flock circling around in it,
old Proteus, music-maker of change,
life itself, that pointless urgent breathing,
mad delight spreading throughout the blood
from only a brilliance of appearances;
and virtue everywhere unaided,
testing space by the angle of its wings.
All things are sings, and no signs last.
What can you hope to do, red crag,
in the common claws of change.
even if that rock-pose of yours were true,
and the steep slopes, all that abruptness, real,
even if you were not an imaginary island,
made, re-made, inhabited in dreams,
built of memory and the impossible,
only against my spirit to be measured?
Island three times over: one of your circles spreads
a great way off, it summons me and does not answer;
another is a retinue of shadows;
and one, closer to hand, is made of mist and plaint.
And now, at the centre of an unfamiliar
inlet ― core of an arc protecting me and
surrendering me ― these eyes forget the earth.
and the surf slips through my fingers,
and I'm homesick for all things that flow gently in light.
Let the sun when it goes down before me
still find me ready to build myself a small
fire ― soft eye of dark,
last gloaming task. When, island,
shall we have the irrevocable sleep?
If you, inert no longer,
could be rowed like a boat through darkness,
leaving no wake in the silence,
the mast warped, the sails alive...