Seeing is a presence for you,
Bringing it all forward into place.
A small grandchild becomes
Eventually a woman and
Your daughter becomes
Eventually you. The wind runs
Through you now because
You have no cause to run
Through the wind.
On a cold bright day we might
Have lost a member of the family
To the earth, yet we could eat
Afterwards and admire the landlocked sea
Just north of us, where we’d love
The sun to set if it ever came to that.
Or there might have been a wedding,
Sometime years ago, and my daughter,
In a white dress and sunshine, might have
Danced with her brown grandfather balancing
A glass in his hand as they twirled together.
At those times when we wait,
If in bed but not sleeping, or cornered
In a chair for reading, or standing in a bit
Of sunlight at a side window, we realize
We are nothing more than a collection
Of memories, that the body, what moves us,
Is an illusion, merely a bag to hold
Those memories contradicting each other
Until we fall asleep.
Children, and maybe yours, sometimes
Try to see through their eyelids to the world,
Even try to dream through them, and most
Of what we learn about the world we do learn
With our eyes closed. We sense the world
Almost at the point where we could touch it,
And that tells us all we need to know.
At the end of some nights in a chair,
You could find it, a sleep, the sleep
That tells you what it is that moves
In the room without taking up any space,
That moves without moving anything else,
Yet it is moving in its way, an approximation
Of a thing, really nothing more
Than a thought,
Which a memory is an example of.
Broken broom handle and this circular
Swirling of yellow leaves, the clear sense
That the wind is blowing. Hot on your neck,
And an inch before sweating, easing yourself
Into a damp shade near unseen water.
The perception of your body falling with
Every step onto the snow, and the sharpness
Of snow, of wind, even of the cold sunlight.
Memory of a child, memory of a woman,
Memory of a set of circles you lived within.
Take them all and keep them, for they
Are the gifts of your only and full life.
They were made for your eyes, even
When kept warm behind their eyelids.