In thy springs, O Zion, are the water wheels
Of my mind! The wheels beat the shining stream.
Whack. Dying. And then death. Whack. Learning. Learned.
Whack. Breathing. And breath. Whack. Gone with the wind.
I am old. The direction of time is plain:
As the daylight, never without direction,
Rises in a direction, east to west,
And sets in a direction, west to east,
Walking backwards all night long, underground;
So, this bright water is bent on its purpose—
To find the meadow path to the shore and then
The star (“Sleepless”) by which the helmsman winds
And turns. Zion of mind! This is the way:
Towards nightfall the wind shifts offshore, north by
Northwest, closing the harbor to sail
And it stiffens, raising the metal water
In the roads. The low sun darkens and freezes.
The water shines. In the raking light is
Towed the great ship home, upwind, everything
Furled. And, behind the great ship, I am carried,
A castaway, in the body alone,
Under the gates of Erebus—the meeting
Place of daylight underground and night wind
Shrieking in wires, the halliards knocking and
Ravelled banners streaming to the south-east
Like thought drawn out, wracked and torn, when the wind
Shifts and rises and the light fails in the long
School room of the setting sun. What is left
To mind but remembrances of the world?
The people of the road, in tears, sit down
At the road-side and tell stories of the world
Then they rise again in tears and go up.
The mill sits in the springs. Water wheels whack
Round: Alive, whack. Dying, whack. Dead whack. Nothing.
How, then, to do things with tears?—Deliver us,
Zion, from mist. Kill us in the light.