Another pull on the oars

The evening breeze
and then
the reeds rustle.

The snake swims 
in the skin
of the water

It vanishes into the reeds.

I face away
from the place

That is always before me.

New Year at Rodmell

The sponge behind my forehead
Is pale and dry and rather dim
Like a bloody sun in a fog
Exasperated unhappy struggling
Worked over with heat and yaps of dogs
Unlike the parson astride his saddle
Or the cold dishonest footman
With clear hard picture of human life
Where the whole world falls into shape.

Poem for Jean Cocteau

"It started at Stravinsky's Le Sacre
With five she-devils of terrible aspect;
I determined then I should come to the arts
As a monk goes to monastic orders.

"It was then I believe
I became possessed
By some ferocious inner thing;
A thing that has remained unknown to me.

"Was that fierce thing an inner being
Or an unknown form of memory?
What was that thing? Ideas came
And I hurried myself to write them down.

"The mathematical calculation
The language
The content
The apparent simplicity -

"All were there to serve that thing
Which was a thing
With a subtle and secret mechanism.

"How came those words
To send those poems
Into the sky?

"That inner thing,
What is it?"