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Sunday, 25 March 2012

Above the Road to Salamanca


Above the Road to Salamanca


(1984)




Within my heart,
Within my room
I lit a penny candle
And watched it hesitate.
Seeking quiet time alone
Afraid for my poor heart.

A child again,
Clinging to familiar skirts
And peering out at the world,
Tensed and ashy cheeks,
Afraid of life and all its change.

Today the child lives on within
Clutching now to a golden ring
Unforgiven but still willing
To go on trusting rather than change. 

But I grow restless in my situation
And shed my fears and cast my longings
Out upon the phantom ocean of the heart.
And I come to you
Kneeling in devotion
In love but so very much afraid.
Not of you in all your beauty,
So warm and yet so frail,
Not of you, but of my own poor heart.
I have dreamt the dream of longing
And tasted your lips before,
Crumpled and sated
My dream dissolves.

My candle burns and I, with honest heart,
Might be free of my dream
And again at my altar
I hid nothing from the sun.
I ask only that my love for you
Be pure or die.

And yet my candle burns
And though I will not tend it
I would have it burn and be consumed.
 

But in it's flickering shadows
Your dark head's tossing.
I see your eyes, sometimes aflutter
With the shades of modesty and then
With the green of the Ocean calling,
Always calling, until I, poor mariner,
Smote by sirens song
Would hush my trembling heart.

I stand upon the high cliff,
The fine line between, the ocean and my fields.
I cast all care upon the wind
That it might bear me where I must
For a while.
Until at last my candle burns alone.

Within the embryo,
Within the memory,
Old life pulses, sputters then renews
So welcome now in this cold night,
The coldest night of the heart,
One pale and slender candle guides me.

Through the groves of citrus fruits
So bitter on my lips, I go
Arrayed in finest passion.
I bow to you in blessed adoration.
 

Sate my soul
And spend my flesh with every caress
Stolen from the grinding wheels of consequence.
Our lives are but hostages of misfortune.

Kiss my lips and touch me
For I am alone like an old grey stone.

Within my cell,
Within my tomb
I gnaw the bones of my existence.
Imploring God to take a part in my humble life.

And so upon the seacliff
I snuff the candle out
Pocketing the stub
For other benedictions.

The horses strain within the fields
And the crop lands are waving
I weigh them all in one brown hand
Against my flight to Salamanca.