Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Clive James - Visitation of the Dove



Visitation of the Dove

Night is at hand already: it is well
That we yield to the night. So Homer sings,
As if there were no Heaven and no Hell,
But only peace.
The gray dove comes down in a storm of wings
Into my garden where seeds never cease

To be supplied as if life fits a plan
Where needs are catered to. 
One need is not:I do not wish to leave yet. If I can
I will stay on
And see another autumn, having got
This far with all my strength not yet quite gone.

When Ph├Ędre, dying, says that she can see
Already not much more than through a cloud,
She adds that death has taken clarity
Out of her eyes
To give it to the world. Behold my shroud:
This brilliance in the garden. The dove flies,

And as it lifts away I start these last
Few lines, for I know that my song must end.
It will be done, and go back to the past,
But I wish still
To be here watching when the leaves descend.
I might yield then, perhaps. But not until.

CLIVE JAMES

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