Saturday, January 20, 2018

I stand at the gate waiting

I stand at the gate waiting,
Watching as you saunter away from me.
I can’t help wondering how soon you’ll return
Or if you’ll think much of me while you’re gone.
Loneliness is a cloak: tight, dark, and cold
Best burned away by reunion’s bright fire.

Embers drowse, memories of fire,
Not sleeping, quite, but fresh fuel awaiting.
Absent your heat, now quiescent, the cold
Cuts into my center, slows me, tires me.
My equilibrium disrupted, gone
The peak, in trough I await your return.

How long until the return?
Two weeks? A dozen? Time enough for fire
To touch the roses? Petals drop, are gone
To winter’s heart a new spring thaw waiting.
Speranza del mio cor[1] do not leave me.
Dolce desio in absence is cold.

As darkness to light so cold
Stands by heat, empty until your return.
You are the original cause, for me.
For all my actions you spark the first fire.
T’en vai haime, alas, alone, waiting
Sola mi lasci, addio. You’ve gone.

“Please, oh please” I beg. “You’ve gone!”
Now I know why Demeter felt the cold,
Brought winter when Persephone, waiting,
Ate those seeds and failed three months to return.
In anguish she cried and drowned the sun’s fire
For a season. Just so have you left me.

But the myth brings hope to me.
Anesidora, when all else was gone,
Left at the bottom of her jar a fire.
When my passes through all the cold
Of separation I see your return.
The sweetest fruit is born of that waiting.

Now let me embrace the cold
While you are gone, that when you here return
That fire that animates me is waiting.

20 January 2018
To Mai Hong

[1] From “Da le belle contrade d’oriente,” a madrigal by Cipriano de Rore (1516-1565), on an anonymous text.
Speranza del mio cor, dolce desio, / Hope of my heart, sweet desire,
T’en vai, haime, sola mi lasci, addio. / Alas, you leave me alone, goodbye.

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