Poem By Bruce Beaver
He’ll come back to you in the darkest night
shambling, robust still, not a little noisome.
He’ll perch his large object-overlapping frame
on the edge of your bed and unravel a repertoire
of dreams and nightmares. Then from his capacious
sleeve — raw silk this visit — he’ll produce
beads of opium from a small box,
from the other sleeve two pipes.
An ensuing sweet tumult of colour
and feeling, pacifically centred.
For the rest of your evening you’ll make his acquaintance
as a young not unattractive man. And he will
read you like an uncut book, your edges
sealed to all but this two-bladed psyche.
“The reason why I came to you
was to dream you awake.
Not necessarily to wean you away
from drugs and hard drinks.
I’ve had my share and found them efficacious
in a disquieting enough fashion.
(I jest, long nights of vision and headaches
no longer elude me after a dozen
lasses of popular wine.) I come to
terrify you, to make you think of death.
our barest knowledge of it just won’t
do. You have to lie with it, rise with it,
and then forget it again while you know
it is everywhere about you — you’ll remember
just as quickly as you’ll forget. In fact
you’ll live with it, consciously, and that’s
one of the things we’re here to learn.
You’ll throw away your pipe in disgust
then pick it up again in a little while.”
Poet's Note: Poem 'III' from the sequence 'Tiresias sees'.