Open 11am to 8pm
Royal Festival Hall (Level 5), Southbank Centre, LondonOpen Tuesday - Sunday from 11am to 8pm
Translated from the Greek by Robert Fitzgerald. Southbank Centre, The National Poetry Library, The Presiding Spirits Project, 2000
deep-furrowed plough -
calm and still
with spring sunlight
I breathe in as you exhale. The sun butters
the window pane. Across the field the starlings
settle in a perfect square fallen fallow. Dry earth
needs rain and storm clouds choke behind
the western horizon. Your clock ticks, tracing
a perfect semi-circle with a quiet hand. No one
will see this but me, I feel small under the weight
of it, unequal to the measure of these days.
Keep my appointments, then tell me again how you feel.
When it comes to me, green, through the green window
it is not green but brown. When it enters the back
of the eyes it is not brown but black with a faint afterglow.
When I wake in the night, once again it is black,
then swells into a kind of gold or foxed yellow.
When the moon rises, that which is cold freezes
and creeps under the nails with a peculiar noise
I can’t quite identify. When, eventually, it squeezes
through the double glazing it is a blend of alloys
passing through the usual predictable phases:
now full, then mildly dented like an old football,
cut sharp in the middle, a slice of lemon,
the merest sliver of ice left on the floor, a small
dense patch of nothing. But who are these women
sitting immobile, patient in the hall?
I feel their cold. Their manners are the politesse
of death, their small talk is of moons waning.
I watch them as they rise and dress
in little black numbers. Their stars hang
in the cupboard. The moon waits on the terrace.