in my driveway
(for the whole eleven years
I have owned
but have not owned
I have never
Always on a plane.
Always in the arms
of man, not God,
always too busy,
that all along
are red, red raspberries
for me to taste.
Shiny and red,
unlike the berries
from the market.
I share them
with the birds!
On one perches
a tiny green insect.
I blow her off.
I burst the raspberry
upon my tongue.
In my solitude
with the world.
The world was always
if you are so beautiful
upon my ready tongue,
lie in store
He picked up a pebble
and threw it into the sea.
And another, and another.
He couldn’t stop.
He wasn’t trying to fill the sea.
He wasn’t trying to empty the beach.
He was just throwing away,
nothing else but.
Like a kitten playing
he was practising for the future
when there’ll be so many things
he’ll want to throw away
if only his fingers will unclench
and let them go.
Just imagine yourself seated on a shadowy terrace,
And beside you is a girl who stirs you more strangely than an
It is a summer evening at its most superb,
And the moonlight reminds you that To Love is an active verb.
And your hand clasps hers, which rests there without shrinking,
And after a silence fraught with romance you ask her what she is
And she starts and returns from the moon-washed distances to the
And says, Oh I was wondering how many bamboo shoots a day it
takes to feed a baby Giant Panda.
Or you stand with her on a hilltop and gaze on a winter sunset,
And everything is as starkly beautiful as a page from Sigrid Undset,
And your arm goes round her waist and you make an avowal
which for masterfully marshaled emotional content might have
been a page of Ouida’s or Thackeray’s,
And after a silence fraught with romance she says, I forgot to or-
der the limes for the Daiquiris.
Or in a twilight drawing room you have just asked the most mo-
mentous of questions,
And after a silence fraught with romance she says, I think this
little table would look better where that little table is, but
then where would that little table go, have you any sugges-
And that’s the way they go around hitting below our belts;
It isn’t that nothing is sacred to them, it’s just that at the Sacred
Moment they are always thinking of something else.
Not there to see midsummer’s midnight rose
open and bloom, me,
or there when the river dressed in turquoise
under the moon, you;
not there when stones softened, opened, showed
the fossils they held
or there, us, when the dark sky fell to the earth
to gather its smell.
Not there when a strange bird sang on a branch
over our heads, you
and me, or there when a starlit fruit ripened
itself on a tree.
Not there to lie on the grass of our graves, both,
alive alive oh,
or there for Shakespeare’s shooting star,
or for who we are,
but elsewhere, far. Not there for the magic hour
when time becomes love
or there for light’s pale hand to slip, slender,
from darkness’s glove.
Not there when our young ghosts called to us
from the other side
or there where the heron’s rags were a silver gown,
by grace of the light.
Not there to be right, to find our souls, we,
dropped silks on the ground,
or there to be found again by ourselves, you, me,
mirrored in water.
Not there to see constellations spell themselves on the sky
and black rhyme with white
or there to see petals fold on a rose like a kiss
on midsummer night.
Not every day
is a good day
for the elfin tailor.
the stolen cloth
reveals what it
was made for:
a handsome weskit
or the jerkin
of an elfin sailor.
sees a jacket
in his mind
and sets about
to find the fabric.
But some days
neither the idea
nor the material
and these are
the hard days
for the tailor elf.
- Kay Ryan