December fourth or fifth,
sinking into the solstice,
I’m finally beginning to enjoy
the darkness, even the Bremen blackness.
damp and rotting. and conquered
by crows whose late afternoon cries
are not hollow but fermenting with persistent ghosts.
Oh they are huge mosquitoes as they clamour,
swarming over the Burgerpark.
When I hear them I think of everything at once:
stale chapatis tossed out to whoever can get them;
pomegranates, Demeter, pine cones,
graveyards, Shakespeare, ten inches of snow,
foghorns, lighthouses, Ted Hughes,
not to mention Edgar Allan Poe and Bombay …
It was December fourth or fifth,
about six thirty in the morning
when I sit up thinking someone
is shining a searchlight on us
or could it be a new street lamp
just put up yesterday just outside our window?
No, no, it’s only the moon
I end up staring at, only the plump, full
moon filling up our window.
He, she, it, hermaphrodite moon,
changing its resilient sex
as it crosses over borders
from one country into another,
accomodating every language, every idea—
this chameleon moon
is laughing with white fish stuck in its
triumphant white teeth.
Only the moon laughing at me
who still wants it dark,
who still wants to sleep.
outside our window?
From The North No 4 (1988).