by Ernest Hilbert on 15/07/13 at 9:22 am
Brrring. It is the day of your Proposal.
Get up. You’re on your own. You are a suitor.
Leave your attic, basement, croft or castle
In AD, BC, either. Doesn’t matter.
A to B is indeed the way you are going,
Towards Before, appropriately enough,
As they do say how it wallops your sense of timing,
Twangs that nought-degree meridian. Love.
You note at once that no one is beside you.
Your neighbor said he’d wave, but so far hasn’t.
“Our blessings! May our God be there to guide you!”
Your family never said, and their God isn’t.
Your street curled up like it shouldn’t have been in the sun.
The houses waddled away, and your underclothes
Are hitching home togehter. You’ve got on
A suit you never liked and suppose she loathes.
The bus conductor is me. My bus remains
Beside a depot and both are yet to be thought of.
The road likewise is a field and awaits the Romans.
You wear on your wrist a sundial and it’s sort of
Stopped. The craft you became superbly skilled in
Over the years is of no use to any.
Your parents have decided against children.
Plantagenets are peering from your money.
The Earth is of course quite flat, and the heavenly bodies
Twinkle explicably. One is as big as a Swatch.
Today they are all gone away, gone away where God is,
Where the dead play whist and the unborn ask can they watch.
Everyman is still on a final shortlist
In that young kingdom, Fellowship and Good Deeds,
Friendship, Knowledge, and all of the Devil’s hitlist
Are still his friend, and he himself still God’s.
But you, it is the day of your Proposal.
You feel the Dead Sea lap the palm of your hand.
Your heart is as light, your soul as white as Persil,
The world and weather more like this ordinary brand.
Flatness on which you travel, height that picks you
Out as a Possible, width that introduces
Infinite manners of no, and a breath that sucks you
Up to a point: you have all these, and voices.
Voices! Low in the raincloud flutter the wings
Of what and where and why, the loquacious dove
She-said-to-me, that craps these green new findings
You pause to analyse on your own sleeve.
These you have. But, when you search for the face
You swear you pictured, all the others who ever
Put in a brief appearance in that space
Rustle like actresses to the scene, and pucker.
So all that’s left of the love that yesterday
Filled the world is a porch with a bell and a wait,
The number-whatever of here—though who’s to say
What squiggles mean?—and the yellow or green or white
Or black or some other word of the closed door.
This, when it opens, frames you into a suitor
Earnestly of your century, the Before
Prattling on at the steps of your mouth, and the Future
Playing it clever and cool in your brown eyes.
The Only Girl In The World arrives to assess
Whether the Future infers what the Past implies.
With all respect, don’t hold your breath for a yes.