Saturday, 21 December 2013


She stood by the door
of her Virginia farm
pulling a sweater on
the branches
of the dogwood
she had tended
were bowed
blossoms loosened
tossed in sudden snow
the deer stood
in mute wonder
by her garden’s edge
she slipped the phone
in her pocket
her daughter
petals gone
she snapped
a branch
a tempest stalled
she felt the boy
she felt the dead
she felt the families
she felt the wind
the deer don’t do that
she said
the deer don’t do that

Friday, 20 December 2013

18 Rugby Street

So there in Number Eighteen Rugby Street's
Victorian torpor and squalor I waited for you.
I think of that house as a stage-set -
Four floors exposed to the auditoriums.
On all four floors, in, out, the love-struggle
In all its acts and scenes, a snakes and ladders
Of intertangling and of disentangling
Limbs and loves and lives. Nobody was old.
An unmysterious laboratory of amours.
Perpetual performance - names of the actors altered.
But never the parts. They told me: 'You
Should write a book about this house. It's possessed!
Whoever comes into it never gets properly out!
Whoever enters it enters a labyrinth -
A Knossos of coincidence. And now you're in it.'
The legends were amazing. I listened, amazed.

I lived there alone. Sat alone
At the hacked, archaic, joiner's bench
That did for desk and table,
And waited for you and Lucas.
Whatever I was thinking I was not thinking
Of that Belgian girl in the ground-floor flat,
Plump as a mushroom, hair black as boot polish:
The caged bird and extra-marital cuddle
Of the second-hand-car dealer who kept
The catacomb basement heaped with exhaust mufflers,
Assorted jagged shafts of cars, shin-rippers
On the way to the unlit and unlovely
Lavatory beneath the street's pavement.
That girl had nothing to do with the rest of the house
But play her part in the drama. Her house-jailor
Who kept her in solitary was a demon
High-explosive, black, insane Alsatian
That challenged through the chained crack of the door
Every entrance and exit. He guarded her,
For the car dealer, from all, too well finally.
Not, seven years in the future, from her gas-oven.
She was nothing to do with me. Nor was Susan
Who still had to be caught in the labyrinth,
And who would meet the Minotaur there,
And would be holding me from my telephone
Those nights you would most need me. On this evening
Nothing could make me think I would ever be needed
By anybody. Ten years had to darken,
Three of them in your grave, before Susan
Could pace that floor above night after night
(Where you and I, the new rings on our fingers,
Had warmed our wedding night in the single bed)
Crying alone and dying of leukaemia.

Lucas was bringing you. You were pausing
A night in London on your escape to Paris.
April 13th, your father's birthday. A Friday.
I guessed you were off to whirl through some euphoric
American Europe. Years after your death
I learned through desperation of that search
Through those following days, scattering your tears
Around the cobbles of Paris. I deferred for a night
Your panics, your fevers, your worst fear -
The toad-stone in the head of your desolation.
The dream you hunted for, the life you begged
To be given again, you would never recover, ever.
Your journal told me the story of your torture.
I guess how you visited each of your sacred shrines
In raging faith you'd catch him there, somehow,
By clairvoyance, by coincidence -
Normally child's play to a serious passion.
This was not the last time it would fail you.
Meanwhile there was me, for a few hours -
A few pence on the fare, for insurance.
Happy to be martyred for folly
I invoked you, bribing Fate to produce you.
Were you conjuring me? I had no idea
How I was becoming necessary.
Or what emergency Fate would make
Of my casual self-service. I can hear you
Climbing the bare stairs, alive and close,
Babbling to be overheard, breathless.
That was your artillery, to confuse me:
Before coming over the top in your panoply
You wanted me to hear you panting. Then -
Blank. How did you enter? What came next?
How did Lucas delete himself, for instance?
Did we even sit? A great bird, you
Surged in the plumage of your excitement,
Raving exhilaration. A blueish voltage -
Fluorescent cobalt, a flare of aura
That I later learned was yours uniquely.
And your eyes' peculiar brightness, their oddness,
Two little brown people, hooded, Prussian,
But elvish, and girlish, and sparkling
With the pressure of your effervescence.
Were they family heirlooms, as in your son?
For me yours were the novel originals.
And now at last I got a good look at you.
Your roundy face, that your friends, being objective,
Called 'rubbery' and you, crueller, 'boneless':
A device for elastic extremes,
A spirit mask transfigured every moment
It its own séance, its own ether.
And I became aware of the mystery
Of your lips, like nothing before in my life,
Their aboriginal thickness. And of your nose,
Broad and Apache, nearly a boxer's nose,
Scorpio's obverse to the Semitic eagle
That made every camera your enemy,
The jailor of your vanity, the traitor
In your Sexual Dreams Incorporated,
Nose from Attila's horde: a prototype face
That could have looked up at me through the smoke
Of a Navajo campfire. And your small temples
Into which your hair-roots crowded, upstaged
By that glamorous, fashionable bang.
And your little chin, your Pisces chin.
It was never a face in itself. Never the same.
It was like the sea's face - a stage
For weathers and currents, the sun's play and the moon's.
Never a face until that final morning
When it became the face of a child - its scar
Like a maker's flaw. But now you declaimed
A long poem about a black panther
While I held you and kissed you and tried to keep you
From flying me about the room. For all that,
You would not stay.

We walked south across London to Fetter Lane
And your hotel. Opposite the entrance
On a bombsite becoming a building site
We clutched each other giddily
For safety and went in a barrel together
Over some Niagara. Falling
In the roar of your soul your scar told me -
Like its secret name or its password -
How you had tried to kill yourself. And I heard
Without ceasing for a moment to kiss you
As if a sober star had whispered it
Above the revolving, rumbling city: stay clear.

A poltroon of a star. I cannot remember
How I smuggled myself, wrapped in you,
Into the hotel. There we were.
You were slim and lithe and smooth as a fish.
You were a new world. My new world.
So this is America, I marvelled.
Beautiful, beautiful America!

Friday, 29 November 2013


You might forget the exact sound of her voice
Or how her face looked when sleeping.
You might forget the sound of her quiet weeping
Curled into the shape of a half moon,

When smaller than her self, she seemed already to be leaving
Before she left, when the blossom was on the trees
And the sun was out, and all seemed good in the world.
I held her hand and sang a song from when I was a girl -

Heil Ya Ho Boys, Let her go Boys
And when I stopped singing she had slipped away,
Already a slip of a girl again, skipping off,
Her heart light, her face almost smiling.

And what I didn't know or couldn't see then
Was that she hadn't really gone.
The dead don't go till you do, loved ones.
The dead are still here, holding our hands.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Moon Light (12th century, AD)

So bright a gleam on the foot of my bed -
Could there have been a frost already?
Lifting myself to look, I found that it was moonlight.
Sinking back again, I thought suddenly of home.

Monday, 2 September 2013


The fish faced into the current,
Its mouth agape,
Its whole head opened like a valve.
You said, 'It's diseased.'

A pale crusted sore
Turned like a coin
And wound to the bottom,
Unsettling silt off a weed.

We hang charmed
On the trembling catwalk:
What can fend us now
Can soothe the hurt eye

Of the sun,
Unpoison great lakes,
Turn back
The rat on the road.

Sunday, 1 September 2013


How it makes of your face a stone
that aches to weep, of your heart a fist,
clenched or thumping, sweating blood, of your tongue
an iron latch with no door. How it makes of your right hand
a gauntlet, a glove-puppet of the left, of your laugh
a dry leaf blowing in the wind, of your desert island discs
hiss hiss hiss, makes of the words on your lips dice
that can throw no six. How it takes the breath
away, the piss, makes of your kiss a dropped pound coin,
makes of your promises latin, gibberish, feedback, static,
of your hair a wig, of your gait a plankwalk. How it says this –
politics – to your education education education; shouts this –
Politics! – to your health and wealth; how it roars, to your

conscience moral compass truth, POLITICS POLITICS POLITICS.

Ballad of the Morning After

Take back the festive midnight
Take back the sad-eyed dawn
Wind up that old work ethic
Oh let me be unborn.

After a night of travelling
How can it come to pass
That there's the same tongue in my mouth
The same face in my glass

Same light on the curtain
Same thirst in the cup
Same ridiculous notion
Of never getting up?

Cars stream above the city
The subway throbs below
Whirling a million faces
Like shapeless scraps of snow

And all these melting faces
Flying below and above
Think they are loved especially
Think they especially love.

This is a free country
The jails are for the bad
The only British dissidents
Are either poor or mad.

I put my classless jeans on
Open my lockless door
I breathe the air of freedom
And know I'm mad and poor.

Love is the creed I grew by
Love is the liberal's drug
Not Agape but Eros
With his Utopian hug.

And in the close, supportive
Environment of the bed,
He is liberty, equality,
Fraternity and bread.

That is the supposition
But I say love's a joke
A here-today-and-gone-tomorrow
Childish pinch-and-poke.

Perhaps I'll believe in something
Like God or Politics
I'd build those temples wider
But there are no more bricks.

Some women believe in Sisterhood
They've rowed the Master's ship
Across the lustful silver sea
On his last ego-trip.

And some believe in Housework
And a few believe in Men.
There's only one man that I want
And I want him again and again.

He sat down at my table.
He finished all the wine.
'You're nothing, dear, to me,' he said,
But his body covered mine.

And stoked the fiery sickness
That's done me to a turn
-The fool that chose to marry
And also chose to burn.

Burning, burning, burning
I came to self-abuse,
Hoping I'd go blind, but no,
It wasn't any use.

I see a mother and her child
Both turn with starving face.
And that's the story of our lives,
The whole damned human race.

My conscience is a hangover,
My sex-life, chemistry;
My values are statistics,
My opinions, PMT.

Beside my rented window
I listen to the rain.
Yes, love's a ball of iron,
And time its short, sharp chain.

The middle-aged say life's too short,
The old and young say 'wrong',
I'll tell you, if you don't like life,
It's every day too long.


The toadstool towers infest the shore:
Stink-horns that propagate and spore
Wherever the wind blows.
Scafell looks down from the bracken band
And sees hell in a grain of sand,
And feels the canker itch between his toes.

This is a land where the dirt is clean
And poison pasture, quick and green,
And storm sky, bright and bare;
Where sewers flow with milk, and meat
is carved up for the fire to eat,
And children suffocate in God's fresh air.

Untitled (from Songs of the Earth)


Friday, 30 August 2013


It is a big question to pose so early in the morning
or "in the light woven by birds,"
as the Estonians say,
but still I must ask what is my place in life?
my "seat on the invisible train,"
as they say in Hungary.
I mean why am I just sitting here
in a lawn chair listening to a thrush,
"the little entertainer of the woods,"
as the Swiss call him,
while out in the world
mobs of people are rushing over bridges
in and out of the cities?
Vegetables grow heavy in their fields,
clouds fly across the "face of the earth,"
as we call it in English,
and sometimes rockets lift off in the distance -
and I mean that quite literally,
"from the top of the table" as the Portuguese have it,
real rockets rising from the horizon,
or "the big line," if you're an Australian,
leaving behind rich gowns of exhaust smoke,
long, smooth trajectories,
and always the ocean below,
"the water machine," as the South Sea islanders put it -
everything taking place right on schedule,
"by the clock of the devil,"
as our grandparents were fond of saying.
And still here I sit with my shirt off,
the dog at my side, daydreaming -
"juggling balls of cotton," as they like to say in France.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Animals are Passing from Our Lives

It’s wonderful how I jog
on four honed-down ivory toes
my massive buttocks slipping
like oiled parts with each light step.

I’m to market. I can smell
the sour, grooved block, I can smell
the blade that opens the hole
and the pudgy white fingers

that shake out the intestines
like a hankie. In my dreams
the snouts drool on the marble,
suffering children, suffering flies,

suffering the consumers
who won’t meet their steady eyes
for fear they could see. The boy
who drives me along believes

that any moment I’ll fall
on my side and drum my toes
like a typewriter or squeal
and shit like a new housewife

discovering television,
or that I’ll turn like a beast
cleverly to hook his teeth
with my teeth. No. Not this pig.

For The Children

The rising hills, the slopes,
of statistics
lie before us,
the steep climb
of everything, going up,
up, as we all
go down.

In the next century
or the one beyond that,
they say,
are valleys, pastures,
we can meet there in peace
if we make it.

To climb these coming crests
one word to you, to
you and your children:

stay together
learn the flowers
go light

The Hope of Wings

The girl forces the gull’s beak open with 
A spoon and starts to scrape the oil away.
Rampant the sky’s colours, legend and myth
Sustain the attention of those beset by
Traditional hungers, but now I foresee
A bird-emptied sky, the world’s shores
Hilled with crippled things, the thick, black
Smothering of oil murdering the hope of wings.
And this girl – she can’t be into her teens –
Would, if her working now is a guide,
Spend all her years remaking these stunned birds
Littering the sea, dead flops among stones.
She’d give a white-winged creature to the sky
Before black tides drown mere human words.



Three men
On a morning in early summer
Tipped a lorryload of poisoned whey
Into the Line river.

The water opened
And gulped it down.

It was a white poison.
The river swelled with the
Evil milk.
A snowy vein of death
Piercing the land's body.

All through the land
Seeped the scum in a murderous rut,
Through fields and
Meadows waiting to be cut,
Past villages and townlands
Into the sea.


Everything died in the milky river.
Brown trout, eels, fluke, young salmon
Perished, every one.

White bellies to the light
Fish floated down the river
Corpses jostling in the tide.

In the summer morning
Poison entered the sun,
Riddled the light
On land and sea,
Possessed the invisible stars
Turned to dust in the air
Dropped like a gentle malignant shiver of snow
Into the hearts of three men
Standing on a bank
Of the Line river.


Men working in the fields
Saw white bellies of fish.
Pain jabbed at the hearts of some.
They waded in as far as they could go
Collected the bodies in bags
Returned to the banks
Spread the fish in the fields –
Row after glittering row.

Strange to see
In the rivery grass,
Men bending over them
Incomprehension in their eyes.

Looking back at the river
They saw countless trout
Try to leap from the water
As if wanting to be alone,
Preferring to die
In an alien environment
Than in their poisoned own.

A few fish reached the grass, gravel, stones
The air pressing on every side.
They stirred, leaped, flickered in the sun
And died.


Milk of peace, milk of human kindness, sign of the fish –
The fields were strewn with dead metaphors.
Language had fought a pitched battle and lost
And now the choicest of its soldiers
Lay corpsed in the sun,
Their hearts yanked out and flung at random on the grass.
What grass would grow from these abandoned hearts
Would be sour as the words of a man
Whose days were black pits
Of disappointment.
Light that might have been a light of love
Circled like a bird of prey
Above the fields
Where nothing could be done or said
To halt the carrion light
From ravaging the dead.


The men who poisoned the river
Seemed hardly to know what was done.
Would they know what they did
If they poisoned the sun?
When they dumped death into the water
What did they do or say?
They turned their backs on a job well-done
And walked away.


People walking through or near the fields
Were forced to drink the stench.
Implacable as cancer
It pierced their clothes and skin
Lived there
White and vile as leprosy.

The whiter, the viler.

It seemed to many women and men
That God’s air
Would never be clean again.


In time
Fishbodies would be clay and grass,
Pain in the men’s eyes
But the river will never
Its own creatures rotting in light.

The river
And the land it flows for
Will never forget
The summer of poisoned white.

Sunday, 18 August 2013


At the first chink of sunrise,
the windows on one side of the house
are frosted with stark orange light,

and in every pale blue window
on the other side
a full moon hangs, a round, white blaze.

I look out one side, then the other,
moving from room to room
as if between countries or parts of my life.

Then I stop and stand in the middle,
extend both arms
like Leonardo's man, naked in a perfect circle.

And when I begin to turn slowly
I can feel the whole house turning with me,
rotating free of the earth.

The sun and moon in all the windows
move, too, with the tips of my fingers,
the solar system turning by degrees

with me, morning's egomaniac,
turning on the hallway carpet in my slippers,
taking the cold orange, blue, and white

for a quiet, unhurried spin,
all wheel and compass, axis and reel,
as wide awake as I will ever be.

I've lived out tens of thousands of years

I've lived out tens of thousands of years
on Cold Mountain. Given to the seasons,

I vanished among forests and cascades,
gazed into things so utterly themselves.

No one ventures up into all these cliffs
hidden forever in white mist and cloud.

It's just me, thin grass my sleeping mat
and azure heaven my comforting quilt:

happily pillowed on stone, I'm given to
heaven and earth changing on and on.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Slouching Toward Bethlehem

If there is only enough time in the final
minutes of the twentieth century for one last dance
I would like to be dancing it slowly with you,

say, in the ballroom of a seaside hotel.
My palm would press into the small of your back
as the past hundred years collapsed into a pile
of mirrors or buttons or frivolous shoes,

just as the floor of the nineteenth century gave way
and disappeared in a red cloud of brick dust.
There will be no time to order another drink
or worry about what was never said,

not with the orchestra sliding into the sea
and all our attention devoted to humming
whatever it was they were playing.

On Turning Ten

The whole idea of it makes me feel
like I'm coming down with something,
something worse than any stomach ache
or the headaches I get from reading in bad light –
a kind of measles of the spirit,
a mumps of the psyche,
a disfiguring chicken pox of the soul.

You tell me it is too early to be looking back,
but that is because you have forgotten
the perfect simplicity of being one
and the beautiful complexity introduced by two.
But I can lie on my bed and remember every digit.
At four I was an Arabian wizard.
I could make myself invisible
by drinking a glass of milk a certain way.
At seven I was a soldier, at nine a prince.

But now I am mostly at the window
watching the late afternoon light.
Back then it never fell so solemnly
against the side of my tree house,
and my bicycle never leaned against the garage
as it does today,
all the dark blue speed drained out of it.

This is the beginning of sadness, I say to myself,
as I walk through the universe in my sneakers.
It is time to say good-bye to my imaginary friends,
time to turn the first big number.

It seems only yesterday I used to believe
there was nothing under my skin but light.
If you cut me I could shine.
But now when I fall upon the sidewalks of life,
I skin my knees. I bleed.


The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot, the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel which suddenly becomes one you have never read, never 
      even heard of,

as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain, to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye and watched the quadratic equation pack its bag, and even now as you memorize the order of the planets,

something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps, the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

Whatever it is you are struggling to remember, it is not poised on the tip of your tongue, not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

It has floated away down a dark mythological river whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall, well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a 

No wonder you rise in the middle of the night to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war. No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted out of a love poem that you used to know by heart. 

The Brooklyn Museum of Art

I will now step over the soft velvet rope
and walk directly into this massive Hudson River
painting and pick my way along the Palisades
with this stick I snapped off a dead tree.

I will skirt the smoky, nestled towns
and seek the path that leads always outward
until I become lost, without a hope
of ever finding the way back to the museum.

I will stand on the bluffs in nineteenth-century clothes,
a dwarf among rock, hills, and flowing water,
and I will fish from the banks in a straw hat
which will feel like a brush stroke on my head.

And I will hide in the green covers of forests
as no appreciator of Frederick Edwin Church,
leaning over the soft velvet rope,
will spot my tiny figure moving in the stillness
and cry out, pointing for the others to see,

and be thought mad and led away to a cell
where there is no vaulting landscape to explore,
none of this birdsong that halts me in my tracks,
and no wide curving of this river that draws
my step toward the misty vanishing point.

Introduction to Poetry

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,

or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to water-ski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.


You have probably come across
those scales in planetariums
that tell you how much you
would weigh on other planets.

You have noticed the fat ones
lingering on the Mars scales
and the emaciated slowing up
the line for Neptune.

As a creature of average weight,
I fail to see the attraction.

Imagine squatting in the wasteland
of Pluto, all five tons of you,
or wandering around Mercury
wondering what to do with your next ounce.

How much better to step onto
a simple bathroom scale,
a happy earthling feeling
the familiar ropes of gravity,

157 pounds standing soaking wet
a respectful distance from the sun.

Winter Syntax

A sentence starts out like a lone traveler
heading into a blizzard at midnight,
tilting into the wind, one arm shielding his face,
the tails of his thin coat flapping behind him.

There are easier ways of making sense,
the connoisseurship of gesture, for example.
You hold a girl's face in your hands like a vase.
You lift a gun from the glove compartment
and toss it out the window in the desert heat.
These cool moments blazing with silence.

The full moon makes sense. When a cloud crosses it
it becomes as eloquent as a bicycle leaning
outside a drugstore or a dog who sleeps all afternoon
in a corner of the couch.

Bare branches in winter are a form of writing.
The unclothed body is autobiography.
Every lake is a vowel, every island a noun.

But the traveler persists in his misery,
struggling all night through the deepening snow,
leaving a faint alphabet of bootprints
on the white hills and the white floors of valleys,
a message for field mice and passing crows.

At dawn he will spot the vine of smoke
rising from your chimney, and when he stands
before you shivering, draped in sparkling frost,
a smile will appear in the beard of icicles,
and the man will express a complete thought.

Another Reason Why I Don't Keep a Gun in the House

The neighbors' dog will not stop barking.
He is barking the same high, rhythmic bark
that he barks every time they leave the house.
They must switch him on on their way out.

The neighbors' dog will not stop barking.
I close all the windows in the house
and put on a Beethoven symphony full blast
but I can still hear him muffled under the music,
barking, barking, barking,

and now I can see him sitting in the orchestra,
his head raised confidently as if Beethoven
had included a part for barking dog.

When the record finally ends he is still barking,
sitting there in the oboe section barking,
his eyes fixed on the conductor who is
entreating him with his baton

while the other musicians listen in respectful
silence to the famous barking dog solo,
that endless coda that first established
Beethoven as an innovative genius. 

Tuesday, 16 July 2013


Between my finger and my thumb   
The squat pen rests; snug as a gun.

Under my window, a clean rasping sound   
When the spade sinks into gravelly ground:   
My father, digging. I look down

Till his straining rump among the flowerbeds   
Bends low, comes up twenty years away   
Stooping in rhythm through potato drills   
Where he was digging.

The coarse boot nestled on the lug, the shaft   
Against the inside knee was levered firmly.
He rooted out tall tops, buried the bright edge deep
To scatter new potatoes that we picked,
Loving their cool hardness in our hands.

By God, the old man could handle a spade.   
Just like his old man.

My grandfather cut more turf in a day
Than any other man on Toner’s bog.
Once I carried him milk in a bottle
Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up
To drink it, then fell to right away
Nicking and slicing neatly, heaving sods
Over his shoulder, going down and down
For the good turf. Digging.

The cold smell of potato mould, the squelch and slap
Of soggy peat, the curt cuts of an edge
Through living roots awaken in my head.
But I’ve no spade to follow men like them.

Between my finger and my thumb
The squat pen rests.

I’ll dig with it.


Our shells clacked on the plates.
My tongue was a filling estuary,
My palate hung with starlight:
As I tasted the salty Pleiades
Orion dipped his foot into the water.

Alive and violated,
They lay on their bed of ice:
Bivalves: the split bulb
And philandering sigh of ocean
Millions of them ripped and shucked and scattered.

We had driven to that coast
Through flowers and limestone
And there we were, toasting friendship,
Laying down a perfect memory
In the cool of thatch and crockery.

Over the Alps, packed deep in hay and snow,
The Romans hauled their oysters south of Rome:
I saw damp panniers disgorge
The frond-lipped, brine-stung
Glut of privilege

And was angry that my trust could not repose
In the clear light, like poetry or freedom
Leaning in from sea. I ate the day
Deliberately, that its tang
Might quicken me all into verb, pure verb.


Dearest, note how these two are alike:
This harpsicord pavane by Purcell
And the racer’s twelve-speed bike.

The machinery of grace is always simple.
This chrome trapezoid, one wheel connected
To another of concentric gears,
Which Ptolemy dreamt of and Schwinn perfected,
Is gone. The cyclist, not the cycle, steers.
And in the playing, Purcell’s chords are played away.

So this talk, or touch if I were there,
Should work its effortless gadgetry of love,
Like Dante’s heaven, and melt into the air.

If it doesn’t, of course, I’ve fallen. So much is chance,
So much agility, desire, and feverish care,
As bicyclists and harpsicordists prove

Who only by moving can balance,
Only by balancing move.