Time for sleep. Time for a nightcap of grave music,
by Denis O'Driscoll
a dark nocturne, a late quartet, a parting song,
bequeathed by the great dead in perpetuity.
I catch a glance sometimes of my own dead at the window,
those whose traits I share: thin as moths, as matchsticks,
they stare into the haven of the warm room, eyes ablaze.
It is Sunday a lifetime ago. A woman in a now-demolished house
sings Michael, Row the Boat Ashore as she sets down the bucket
with its smooth folds of drinking water…
The steadfast harvest moon out there, entangled in the willow’s
stringy hair, directs me home like T’ao Ch’ien: A caged bird
pines for its first forest, a salmon thirsts for its stream.