EGYPT 1940


Now the night finds us; the bright worlds advance
leaning across Europe's planted lines
to the uncertain sea
and the Americas.
	The night finds us the body betrays us
	and love devours us and time passes.

This is the hour when carnival is over
and colours drain from things; the fallacy
of patient landscapes darkening,
and man's habitation.
	The body betrays us and love devours us
	and time passes and none saves us.

Now the room empties and the walls are down;
the selves of us are naked in the gulf,
stripped of interval
and place and circumstance.
	Love devours us and time passes
	and none saves us and strength fails us.

Neither our flesh nor that which inwardly
watches, be separate now: alone that touch
is proof against the close
and final need of death.
	For time passes and none saves us
	and strength fails us and wideness withers.

And all our thought has grown the house of war:
the resting senses await him; friendly things
look strange, and soothe no longer
our rebellious lust.
	For none saves us and strength fails us
	and wideness withers and earth forsakes us.

Still the cold bed of being two, the sharp
and screaming rack of Europe, must for all
our metaphysics, all
our living, be; and last.
	Strength fails us and wideness withers
	and earth forsakes us.
			And night finds us.


Who are they, the impending wanderers
between the shadow and the wall between
desire and the will's apprehension?
a watchfulness in the eyes' corner?
Rapunzel falls our evening; and our tears
fall, from the unreal to the unseen,

and still the watchers from the hems of death
(unhailed echoes, dissolving fingers) paint
hope's wide eyes upon a windy cloth:
weaving two pennons, two desolations,
the floating hair of distance, and the fins
of war.  And wanderers devilish in our blood.

And they have blood of tears.  Oh stand upon
this eminence of mourning night, look down
over your carpet of arcadian earth,
till that unreal glory dies
in our life, and the invisible remains
- an everlasting darkness and a dream.

Oh but the haunters in our sunless ways.
Not the mercurial anger of iron, flare
of the flying poison, oblique lashes;
but the internal apparition:
the pox of crooked motions, calloused
endurance; shrouded fittings of disease.

It is the sweet beleaguered past makes mad,
bends the straight-falling shadow, corrupts
the body's bravery and grace, and 
the trained machinery of living:
till mirrors crane from an abandoned room,
those are eyes which round a throat were pearls,

and the imagined dead branch like a coral.
Sea-drunken men with bayonets have burst 
from the ineffectual guardroom
of history; weeping triumph dozes
upon the red-sea wreck; a pirate night
shakes out her colours.
			Deluge begins.


Who shall discover our last eminence?
The mind is made like Andalusian towers,
rings, like a tree with age,
the cores' Atlantic stone.
Uncertain ocean waves the weathercocks
when all's over, the parent punished;

but we stand masked upon the inland piers
of a new world, in time of nightingales.
This finally: for now
is the uproaring end,
with wisdom changing and selves wasting
abyss of beauty and fear within us.

For love's the dweller by our Acheron,
the Fury in the bird among the tombs:
whose loud desolate singing
has betrayed us to
the beast with fingers in the shadowy hall
tapping our shoulder as time passes.

Too easily, my dear, we have rebelled
for this intangible embrace, which comes 
to plots and weeping in
the enemy night.  This will not
save the colour of our eyes; but only 
		that time passes and love devours us.

Nor will our minds discover how to wear
incurious armour blindly to endure
the crystal hands that move
with unrelenting power
		the living and the dead.  For time
		and love devours us.  The body	
		        betrays us.

Rest.  With usurping steps, bright worlds
Juno's curved wing, leaning their savage eyes
to the Americas
and legendary day.
		Time passes and love devours us
		the body betrays us.
				And night finds us.