Things that go 'bump' in the night
Should not really give one a fright.
It's the hole in each ear
That lets in the fear,
That, and the absence of light!
Executioner happy to explain
How his wristwatch works
As he shadows me on the street.
I call him that because he is grim and officious
And wears black.
The clock on the church tower
Had stopped at five to eleven.
The morning newspapers had no date.
The gray building on the corner
Could've been a state pen,
And then he showed up with his watch,
Whose Gothic numerals
And the absence of hands
He wanted me to understand
Right then and there.
The future: time's excuse
to frighten us; too vast
a project, too large a morsel
for the heart's mouth.
Future, who won't wait for you?
Everyone is going there.
It suffices you to deepen
the absence that we are.
Rainer Maria Rilke
Perhaps it's no more than the fire's reflection
on some piece of gleaming furniture
that the child remembers so much later
like a revelation.
And if in his later life, one day
wounds him like so many others,
it's because he mistook some risk
or other for a promise.
Let's not forget the music, either,
that soon had hauled him
toward absence complicated
by an overflowing heart.
In a field
I am the absence
always the case.
Wherever I am
I am what is missing.
When I walk
I part the air
the air moves in
to fill the spaces
where my body's been.
We all have reasons
to keep things whole.
Suddenly this defeat.
The blues gone gray
And the browns gone gray
A terrible amber.
In the cold streets
Your warm body.
In whatever room
Your warm body.
Among all the people
The people who are always
I have been easy with trees
Too familiar with mountains.
Joy has been a habit.
The mower stalled, twice; kneeling, I found
A hedgehog jammed up against the blades,
It had been in the long grass.
I had seen it before, and even fed it, once.
Now I had mauled its unobtrusive world
Burial was no help:
Next morning I got up and it did not.
The first day after a death, the new absence
Is always the same; we should be careful
Of each other, we should be kind
While there is still time.
Your words dropped into my heart like pebbles into a pool,
Rippling around my breast and leaving it melting cool.
Your kisses fell sharp on my flesh like dawn-dews from the limb,
Of a fruit-filled lemon tree when the day is young and dim.
But a silence vasty-deep, oh deeper than all these ties
Now, through the menacing miles, brooding between us lies.
And more than the songs I sing, I await your written word,
To stir my fluent blood as never your presence stirred.
Words of a poem should be glass
But glass so simple-subtle its shape
Is nothing but the shape of what it holds.
A glass spun for itself is empty,
Brittle, at best Venetian trinket.
Embossed glass hides the poem of its absence.
Words should be looked through, should be windows.
The best word were invisible.
The poem is the thing the poet thinks.
If the impossible were not,
And if the glass, only the glass,
Could be removed, the poem would remain.
For union with my love I sigh in vain,
The pangs of absence I can scarce sustain,
My grief I dare not tell to any friend;
O trouble strange, sweet passion, bitter pain!
Robert Seymour Bridges
HERE, ever since you went abroad,
If there be change no change I see:
I only walk our wonted road,
The road is only walk'd by me.
Yes; I forgot; a change there is--
Was it of that you bade me tell?
I catch at times, at times I miss
The sight, the tone, I know so well.
Only two months since you stood here?
Two shortest months? Then tell me why
Voices are harsher than they were,
And tears are longer ere they dry.
We miss Her, not because We see --
The Absence of an Eye --
Except its Mind accompany
As slightly as the Routes of Stars --
Ourselves -- asleep below --
We know that their superior Eyes
Include Us -- as they go --
We'll pass without the parting
So to spare
Certificate of Absence --
I left Her I could find Her
If I tried --
This way, I keep from missing
Those that died.
I looked toward the movie, the common dream,
The he and she in close-ups, nearer than life,
And I accepted such things as they seem,
The easy poise, the absence of the knife,
The near summer happily ever after,
The understood question, the immediate strife,
Not dangerous, nor mortal, but the fadeout
Enormously kissing amid warm laughter,
As if such things were not always played out
By an ignorant arm, which crosses the dark
And lights up a thin sheet with a shadow's mark.
Now that she has left the room for a moment
to powder her nose,
we watch and wait, watch and wait,
for her to bring back the purpose into our lives.
Long Years apart -- can make no
Breach a second cannot fill --
The absence of the Witch does not
Invalidate the spell --
The embers of a Thousand Years
Uncovered by the Hand
That fondled them when they were Fire
Will stir and understand --
Who was it brought thee here at nightfall, who?
Forth from the harem in this manner, who?
To him who in thy absence burns as fire,
And trembles like hot air, who was it, who?
Each Scar I'll keep for Him
Instead I'll say of Gem
In His long Absence worn
A Costlier one
But every Tear I bore
Were He to count them o'er
His own would fall so more
I'll mis sum them.
Absence disembodies -- so does Death
Hiding individuals from the Earth
Superposition helps, as well as love --
Tenderness decreases as we prove --
Except Thy absence there is nothing of worth that can
bruise to the quick; he cannot be acute who is not taken
with Thy subtle charms, and, although there exist in
Thy mind no care for any one, there is none who may
not be preoccupied with Thee.
He found my Being -- set it up --
Adjusted it to place --
Then carved his name -- upon it --
And bade it to the East
Be faithful -- in his absence --
And he would come again --
With Equipage of Amber --
That time -- to take it Home --
Who led thee here this night, thus given up to wine?
Who, indeed, raising the veil which hid thee, has been
able to lead thee here? Who, finally, brought thee as
rapidly as the wind which fans the fire that still burned
in thy absence?