The Convalescent-Party

A rakish summer with cocked leaf and flower
winks at the coloured walkers; the river
lolls, a witch's tongue, between the islands
and the swaggering shores.

Holiday: and the crows like old umbrellas
peck with a more Etruscan joy; the shadows
are poor relations on the lawn; light is 
a dancing fearful thing.

The woman with the violet breasts, the child
in tartan, chair and flower-bed and building,
stand in a ring and leap like fire beneath
book-binders' heavens.

Tap-dance of tennis-balls; the smell of water;
the grumble of sad years in carnival:
and I stare through the party with a face 
as hard as a head wind.

Sick sister, brother with the worm at heart,
you becoming enemy, or nothing,
oh all you fading people, with bodies
wrenched on the common ropes,

we with each other's envy like a mask
invent, remember, dramatize, to join
our sinister entertainment with ourselves,
plush lovers and wax laughers:

all you fading people, do you not feel
the flick of eyes, and the heart turning over,
the weather and the weather-makers in
your desperate countryside?

What are we doing with our garden, watching
the blown hair of the grass, and our false bodies
acting here together like hands pressed
upon a smiling mouth?

What are we doing with desire and hate,
unreal time and place, bad brilliance
reeling from light; the colour and the talk
that giggles and says nothing?

You, sitting in the blue ring of the sick,
blonde girl revoking on the ace of spades,
round you the folded wind presents ambition
and our dull grasp of sex:

though you become our symbol, and a future
with female days, the lace of dalliance,
sharp hands towards you, and a glassy clearness, 
hold out this horror of

ragged bright-weather behaviour, season of
sun-trees; beaten heart of the pathetic
fallacy of mankind - who are the shadows
and the celebrations.

Vast in this poisoned gaiety impends
the writhe and shiver of love, and the shy bed
of new communion; darkened things that bite
like legendary birds;

the failure and the lack, the grin cut
on a face that will not own itself; the tiny
clapper at the core of our polite
soft fruit of sound and fury.

Oh for ourselves and you, this prancing day,
as hard as a head wind I set my face
against the power of something small within us
weeping and weeping.