The black of my irises,
those simple, reclusive Sufis of mine
swooned in the song-spell of his eyes.

I sensed him billow all around me,
radiating towards infinity
to the other side of life
like fire’s red pyramid,
like a cloud in spasm of rain,
like a sky embraced
by warm seasons’ breath.

I sensed that in the breeze
of his hands’ movements
the substance of my being
was disintegrating.
I sensed his heart peal inside mine
like the bell of a wandering sorcerer.

The clock took flight.
The curtain withdrew with the wind.
I had pressed him to myself
inside the halo of that fire
and I wanted to say something
but to my astonishment
his thick shadowing lashes
released themselves like silk strands
from the base of darkness
along desire’s long trail
and through the tremor
—that deathly tremor—
to the end of my end.

I sensed my release.
I sensed my release.

I sensed my skin crack from love’s dilating joy,
as my flaming mass melted slowly
and flowed, streamed and flowed
into the moon,  
a turbulent blurry moon
drowned in a ditch.

We had cried into each other.
We had madly lived a moment’s
ephemeral union inside one other.

– Forough Farrokhzad. Connection

translated by Sholeh Wolpé

_

How heavy do I journey on the way,
When what I seek, my weary travel’s end,
Doth teach that ease and that repose to say
‘Thus far the miles are measured from thy friend!’
The beast that bears me, tired with my woe,
Plods dully on, to bear that weight in me,
As if by some instinct the wretch did know
His rider loved not speed, being made from thee:
The bloody spur cannot provoke him on
That sometimes anger thrusts into his hide;
Which heavily he answers with a groan,
More sharp to me than spurring to his side;
For that same groan doth put this in my mind;
My grief lies onward and my joy behind.

– William Shakespeare. Sonnet 50

                                                       (at St. Mary’s)

may the tide
that is entering even now
the lip of our understanding
carry you out
beyond the face of fear
may you kiss
the wind then turn from it
certain that it will
love your back     may you
open your eyes to water
water waving forever
and may you in your innocence
sail through this to that

– Lucille Clifton. blessing the boats

_