restricted access Facing Africa
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One man in a house cannot hear His ear, with his hair falling out from the quick. Even to himselfhe cannot say Except with not one word, How he hears there is no more light Than this, nor any word More anywhere: how he is drunk On hope, and why he calls himselfmad. Weeping is steadily built, and does not fall From the shadow sitting slowly behind him On the wall, like an angel who writes him a letter To tell him his only talent is too late To tell, to weep, to speak, or to begin Here, or ever. Here, where he begins. FacingAfrica These are stone jetties, And, in the close part ofthe night, Connected to my feet by long Warm, dangling shadows On the buttressed water, Boats are at rest. Beyond, the harbor mouth opens Much as you might believe A human mouth would open To say that all things are a darkness. I sit believing this As the boats beneath me dissolve And shake with a haunted effort To come into being again, And my son nods at my side, Looking out also Into dark, through the painted Living shadows ofdead-still hulls Facing Africa / 127 Toward where we imagine Mrica To bloom late at night Like a lamp ofsand held up, A top-heavy hourglass, perhaps, With its heaped, eternal grains Falling, falling Into the lower, green part Which gives offquick, leafy flashes Like glimpses oflightning. We strain to encounter that image Halfway from its shore to ours: To understand The undermined glowing ofsand Lifted at midnight Somewhere far out above water, The effortless flicker oftrees Where a rumor ofbeasts moves slowly Like wave upon wave. What life have we entered by this? Here, where our bodies are, With a green and gold light on his face, My staring child's hand is in mine, And in the stone Fear like a dancing ofpeoples. Inside theRiver Dark, deeply. A red. All levels moving A given surface. Break this. Step down. Follow your right Foot nakedly in To another body. Put on the river Like a fleeing coat, A garment ofmotion, Drowning with Others / I2 8 ...


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