Menard of my uncharted cavern-heart;
high priest of that tristesse which I profess
at depths perhaps deceptively abstruse:
embalm the bruise-barred sky that lies beyond;
administer the sting of vacancy,
and wash me in the wake that dreams bequeath
when, having over-promised, they make off
abrupt across the jilted, jolted dawn.
In other words, please show me what I am,
or rather what it is I think I am,
or rather what I think I'd rather be.
Amid your tongue-tip-twisting anagrams
of certain former worlds and phantom ones,
there loom and gleam all vast and vespertine
the follies of a future unattained.
That is, a largeness not just lost, misplaced,
but never to be found, and therefore past,
a wild surmise, or wink thereof, no more.
Its shadows weigh like cromlechs on the ground
and brook no trespass from the daunted realm
of what are said to be the living,
leaving only some officious effigy,
a station-master maybe -- vague, remote --
to look out with a blindness interposed
at new and cryptic tidelines which bear down
like nightfall on a revolution quelled.
Just when I think that I have gone and found
the More I try to seek but can't express,
the reverb haze of déjà vu descends
and summers past unmask themselves at last
as stokers of the embers in my brain.
I know that I could wait and wait and wait,
as though for martlets fixed in viewless flight,
but they, those summers, cleared and packed away --
well, they are never coming back again.
Besides, if truth be told, it seems to me
that in the end, when all is said, and said,
your squares of squares can only kill the Thing,
which -- concretised as well as travertined,
ensnared, diminished, wan -- is soon exposed
as, synchronously, propagule and host
of that which I had thought I ached to flee.
Thus trapped, denied, defrauded, I am left,
or feel I'm left, with nothing very much:
an orphan longing -- spinster-knowledge -- this?
The upshot is my ochre-misted soul
stands no less arid, no less desolate,
than your piazzas as they echo in the gloaming.
Sanjeev Braich is, or perhaps at some deep level longs to be, no more than a writer manqué. He lives and works in London.
The Ekphrastic Review
Join us on Facebook: