We hurry back to resume our awaited commissions:
the press’s annoyances, our bitter disputes and our
wars, ferments, infirmities, a battering music
that strikes at us without letup : we are
back in the ranks on the barricades :
though everyone takes us for dead, here we are
as before, with our counterfeit smiles, flinching,
we say, at the thought of our looming oblivion,
there on a palmless plot in the sea
where noses are chiseled in stone
like triangles traced in the sunshine and brine –
on a minuscule navel of ocean,
denying the spaces, closing our eyes to the ultimate purity,
the tribes who raised the nude stone and
the verities none dares to claim as a loving participant.
That is my cowardice now, the witness I bear :
I was meant for more tentative edifices.
Here in a waste without walls, a capital
hacked out of sunlight and salt, contemplation and stone,
I look back with the others, a trespasser,
afraid in myth’s limpid perfection, seeing only
blue silences encircling the statues.