07 February 2016

Suddenly lonely, desolate, desperate, lost

                                                           by C. K. Williams

The Vigil  

Often I have thought that after my death, not in death’s void as we usually think it,

but in some simpler after-realm of the mind, it will be given to me to transport myself
 through all 
space and all history, to behold whatever and converse with whomever I wish.

Sometimes I might be an actual presence, a traveller listening at the edge of the crowd;

at other times I’d have no physical being; I’d move unseen but seeing through palace or slum.

Sophocles! Shakespeare, Bach, Grandfathers! Homo-erectus! The universe bursting into being!

Now, though, waking, caught by some imprecise longing, you in the darkness beside me,
your warmth flowing gently against me, it comes to me that in all my after-death doings,

I see myself as alone, always alone, and I’m suddenly lonely, desolate, desperate, lost.

To propel myself through those limitless reaches without you! Never! Be with me, come!
Babylon, Egypt, Lascaux, the new seas boiling up life; Dante, Delphi, Magyars and Mayans!

Wait, though, it must be actually you, not my imagination of you, however real: for myself,

mind would suffice, no matter if all were one of time’s terrible toys, but I must have you,
as you are, the unquenchable fire of your presence, otherwise death truly would triumph.
Quickly, never mind death, never mind mute, oblivious, onrushing time: wake, hold me!

Times Literary Supplement,  2 February 2016.

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