You and I, when our days are done, must say
Without exactly saying it, goodbye.
If we could choose at such a time one free
Embodiment which might, by being the last,
Stand in the account somehow as one
Generous entry putting the whole in credit,
What and where would it be, that final choice?
There are times such as when we have had them
Must serve in their completeness for the fancy,
For they are all we get. As yesterday,
Breathing in the wood, crouching for ceps.
And just a week ago, the eyes narrowing
For twenty porpoises sewing the waves
Beyond West End, not seen for fifteen years.
And then last month, the heart syncopating,
We slipped from a canoe into the shallows
With golden Beynac above us, tall, half-robed.
That wood, that sea, that river, rooted or moving,
Survive in all their changes, year by year
In which we drift through them, seizing on hope,
Searching for our permanent lost shapes.
Perhaps for that moment we could be ourselves
For once, and somehow find ourselves in time
For the Assumption at Calvi, surprised by night,
The whole sky split by fire and dripping stars.
And we should live this passionate postscript till
Those shapes no longer named themselves as all
That they suggest, these mimes of the cascade:
Lamps of the hill town’s single street, guiding
Its evening Clios after each other down
To the pleasures of the coast, the pulse of light,
Celestial pinball, instantaneous blooms,
Paper in chimneys, headaches, calculations,
Ribbons, Spanish exclamation marks,
Cringing anemones, the sky shocked red,
A burst of dizzy bubbles in the kicklight
Of the downthrust of an ankle, following
Your swimming shape for ever for this moment
Onwards through weed-flagged crevices, as quick
As your shutter on these artificial fires
That live just longer than we might expect,
Though never giving time to say goodbye.
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