Despite and still

Suspicion like the earth is hard

And like the earth opposes

Dense fact to the doubtable:

Which therefore like the air surrenders

Semblance to the bolder sights.

I have surrendered place

To many solid miles of brain-rote,

To the just so many matters and no more

That reason, grudging prodigal,

Allows numerous, consecutive.

Even in my own mind I have stood last,

An airy exile, nothing, nowhere,

My eyes obeying laws of circumspection

By which myself shone fanciful

In lurid never:

Because that had been so, I not.

But as time learns a boredom,

Loathes the determinate succession,

Irks with uncalendared event

And brings surprise to be,

The natural conscience snapped in me—

And lo! I was; I am.


Elastic logic thinning

Grows delicate to marvels.

Fine argument at finest disembroils

The ravelled choking maze of caution.

The sudden of the slow is bred,

The curious of the common.

Into the sceptic fog that mists

Infraction from the chronic rule

Stumbles intelligence a-rage

To find the unthought wanton thought

And, self-confounding, think it.

My life, with other lives a world,

With other ways of being a coiled nature,

Springs separate: I am personified,

Of being caught in that pressed confluence

And proven look-substantial,

Yet strange to the familiar soul

In fellowed course entwined.


Acquaintance marks out unacquaintance.

Usage had bound of mystery.

The continents of vision view

A further which grows spatial

From lying next, in dark increase

Of the gregarious light with which

Compacting sense embraces straggling all.

…So have I lived,

Approaching rhythms of old circumstance

To the perilous margin, moment.

And struck the string which breaks at sounding,

Taken the tremorless note to mouth,

And spoken sound’s inversion,

Like a statue moved with stillness.


This is that latest all-risk:

An I which mine is for the courage

No other to be, if not danger’s self.

Nor did I other become, others,

In braving all-risk with hushed step,

Mind rattling veteran armouries.


If this be I.

If words from earthly durance loosed

To earthly right of meaning

Cannot belie their wisdoming,

The doubt-schooled care that bent back sense

From skyish startle, faith’s delirium.


If I my words am,

If the footed head which frowns them

And the handed heart which smiles them

Are the very writing, table, chair,

The paper, pen, self, taut community

Wherein enigma’s orb is word-constrained.

Does myself upon the page meet,

Does the thronging firm a name

To nod my own—witnessing

I write or am this, it is written?

What thinks the world?

Has here the time-eclipsed occasion

Grown language-present?

Or does the world demand,

And what think I?


The world in me which fleet to disavow

Ordains perpetual reiteration?

And these the words ensuing.