Canto

At dawn she lay with her profile at that angle

Which, when she sleeps, seems the carved face of an angel.
Her hair a harp, the hand of a breeze follows
And plays, against the white cloud of the pillows.
Then, in a flush of rose, she woke and her eyes that opened
Swam in blue through her rose flesh that dawned.
From her dew of lips, the drop of one word
Fell like the first of fountains: murmured
'Darling', upon my ears the song of the first bird.
'My dream becomes my dream,' she said, 'come true.
I waken from you to my dream of you.'
Oh, my own wakened dream then dared assume
The audacity of her sleep. Our dreams
Poured into each other's arms, like streams.

—"Daybreak",
Stephen Spender

The tide is running high, my love,

The blossom’s almost done,
It falls without a sigh, my love,
Like mist dies in the sun.

The wind is blowing wild, my love,
It rattles the window pane,
It cries like a lost child, my love,
Her tears fall like the rain.

A child you’ll never know, my love,
For I could not make you stay,
You followed the high tide’s flow, my love,
And a ship took you away.

Our tears could fill the sea, my love,
Beneath this cruel sky,
For you’ll not come back to me, my love,
Though the tide is running high.

—"The running tide",
Jane Dougherty

A Long Way

There’s a time in our lives
To return, sacrifice
Wild grass has grown high
On the path between our lives
There’s a light in the trees
It’s closer now, I’m on my knees
Oh Father, forgive me, please

I came a long, long way back home
To see you one more time
‘Cause I came a long, long way back home
To see you and say Goodbye

Father’s hands work the ground
Turns the soil, lays it down
Everything done and said
Lives beyond the quick and the dead
Heritage passed along
To the sons like a blessed song
So raise your voices on high tonight

We came a long, long way back home
To see you one more time
‘Cause we came a long, long way back home
To see you and say Goodbye
To hold you and say Goodbye, Goodbye

—"A Long Way", Home (2015)
Josh Garrels

Little Owl (Athene noctua). Photographed by Danny Laredo.
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The mandarin ducks, the husband and his mate,
Brush from each other’s wings the frost.
How sad if one is left to sleep alone!

—from The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon

Garden

A garden locked is my sister, my bride,
    a spring locked, a fountain sealed.
Your shoots are an orchard of pomegranates
    with all choicest fruits,
    henna with nard,
nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon,
    with all trees of frankincense,
myrrh and aloes,
    with all choice spices—
a garden fountain, a well of living water,
    and flowing streams from Lebanon.

Awake, O north wind,
    and come, O south wind!
Blow upon my garden,
    let its spices flow.

—Song of Solomon, chapter 4, verse 12-16

What makes lovemaking and reading

resemble each other most is that within both of them times and spaces open, different from measurable time and space.

— Italo Calvino, If on a winter’s night a traveler

    Vega nightfishes in the Great Sky River. Copyright © 2021

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