The Joseph lilies sway, in choir, a silent chorus
of white-coifed nuns; you stand, distant from them,
child of God, suffering God. On sodden fields
a flock of chittering starlings shifts; the eye is never worn
with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. Leaves
of the eucalyptus multiply and your solicitous murmurings
sound like leaves of the eucalyptus in a sudden breeze.
Remember that great cantankerous composer, deaf
as his podium, how he waved his hands about and heard
his Ninth Symphony’s ode to joy. Remember the old man
whom you loved, how he dressed so carefully to plod
away through the mud-gap into the silence of eternity,
and left you wandering about among the sodden fields.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.