For the end I have returned to the beginning.
My room at St Mary's is faded yellow and green -
a winter sun, womb-heavy with spring,
and the labour will be long.
Sleepless and alone, my ears play
one dismal organ note that is broken
only by the paint-crack of my window frame;
it creaks and sinks under the weight
of too many scratched initials
and the memory of dreams.
Every night I rise and
fall and rise and
fall on the waves of unconsciousness,
but never reach Ithaca.
The river is flood-swollen
and carries many passengers;
an uprooted bough slides
silently past, majestic
as a Viking long-boat,
its branches twisted
into a snarling dragon prow.
I sit in the trees
that are made from amber glass,
making notes, and think of another tree
growing in Jerusalem
for those who invented God.
The sun makes stars on the river,
and more boughs drift by,
knotted and grainy like the backs
of time-weary crocodiles
who will inherit the earth.
The city is full of ghosts of ghosts;
the amber glass of the cathedral,
the castle's never-breached keep,
the trees creaking with scratched initials,
and this dragon-prowed bough-ship rising and
falling, fighting down the river
and never reaching Ithaca.