Crouched in the womb I learned this fear:
the subtle streams that fed me moved
in darkness, and my fish's ear
took dimly from the outer air
nothing I knew or loved.
Then between lifted thighs I broke
into a bed of weeping; found
strong to the pouring air as rock,
and grimly rooted like the oak,
the inevitable round.
A farthing frond of beauty hid
the weevil in my green delight;
but round my pillow came the dead,
and the unborn were garmented
in guttering wicks by night.
Then to that other darkness came
behind my lidded eyes, the blood
that beat me around me in the womb;
under my fingers crept the worm
of bonds and solitude.
Now the great bones of ancient things
lie foundered on the rotting beach;
the fear of death betrays our tongues;
our beds are full of whisperings:
blind, we turn each to each.
We lift involuntary hands
out of our separate dream; but still
the goblin like a gantry stands
with arms forbidding, and unwinds
the fibres of the soul.
Lights wander between us, and we crouch
while inaccessible pain and love
fasten upon the external touch:
silent around us, the worlds watch
our useless fear of death and life.