the journey back – a memory of 1967 (for Lan)

waiting for the aircraft’s arrival
I watch night shed tears on the window glass
I think of you  my love made of crystal
of your clear beauty   of your smile
of your eyes that are the lightning’s flash

how can I tell you what I must
the night weeps more fiercely than before
its stormy plaint fills me
its large drops of sorrow dizzy me
 
how give to you the secret in my soul
the heavens are bereft of sky
the winds are filled with rage
how recount to you what I must
without shattering myself

the ground is a dark looking-glass
all around me  voices whisper
voices that lack feeling    that lack grace
how can I form the phrases
with which to recite this pressing verse
burning inside of me     now on board
I sense neither night nor its untiring lament
inside the entrails of this monstrous
metallic beast   I sense nothing
but the slight tremor of its wings
the howls of its jet engines    I think
in planes  windows are not made of crystal

how to find the words that are fitting
the plane begins leaping forward   racing
across the dark waters on the ground
the airport lights are jewels scattered
rubies   diamonds   sapphires   they pass by
faster  and even faster still

how can I share this grave rhyme that burns me
like a griffin  the plane rises
it climbs higher and higher yet
upward it flies with my soul in its talons
with my body in its jaws   with my fear
in its guts    how will I tell you
and will you understand what I’m saying
I remember your skin with its fragrance of honey
I’m a poet but all my words fail me

*     *     *

© Gregory V Driscoll 2014

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