Aged hands plucking my heartstrings
playing cadenzas of guilt across my soul
She who built the instrument
with innate artistry
renders her virtuoso performance
and I am paralyzed
and I want to run a thousand miles
I am held by the gripe of wrinkled claws
deep in my gut
No escape for player or played
but to deconstruct,
to spend a lifetime unbuilding
a lifetime's building
it is all loosened.
There's only a frail old woman
fumblingly pressing keys on a dead keyboard.
In the unechoing chamber, a new note sounding
(a song I always wanted to practice)
my heart's own music,
a gentle lullaby
for my mother.
EAST COAST MALAYSIA
(for Suís birthday)
How old is a coast of coconut trees?
How old is a phosphorescent sea?
In some far twilight, when day is waning,
to your weary spirit a thought shall come:
that still on those beaches the waves are breaking,
the tide is flowing and the wind blows strong;
and the sky and the sea sing one song together,
which lasts as long as the world shall turn.
Let no grief come upon you when you remember!
Don't think of yourself as time's victim, of brightness as lost.
Somewhere, a you who is ageless stands, still wondering,
watching the seas on those murmuring coasts;
you are a part of that ongoing music for ever.
This will not die, while memory lasts.
Or even should memory fail, if the oceans dry up into mud,
Yet in eternity, that song endures.
Somewhere wind always blows on those beaches.
Somewhere it is night with a sea full of stars,
and the lines of fire fall blazing and crashing,
though no one stands on the darkening shores.
Nefertiti is dead,
Queen of the lake-palace,
of the fountain-garden.
Lay her to rest.
Let four days pass
ere she is given to the men who draw out the brain through the nose:
let her perfection become imperfection, let her clay begin its
descent to the dust,
lest the embalmers
attempt to possess
te beauty of Nefertiti.
No bone is left of her, Nefertiti.
Spices and myrrh have preserved no shred of her sinew,
no remnant of flesh.
Out beyond Thebes
on the walls of the palace the images glow,
her portraits painted by men who loved her.
Vanquished the sands of three thousand years, for all the world knows
the head of Nefertiti.