Boxing Day, 2002. You lie
on the gatehouse chaise
adoze by a compact fire
that I stoke in your silence.
To sleep, perchance to dream…
This rest is not beshadowed
by portents of a grim future,
your body blanketed by more
than blacked and purpled fleece,
blue eyes blondely lashed
to my loving intentions.
A halo of candlelight spreads
on the lath-and-plastered
wall behind your braid.
I gladly arise, long before you,
for pleasure of taking this in,
to encapture this moment, for
as long as the grass shall grow,
as long as the rivers shall run.
Soon enough, some 5000 days,
you will open these eyes in pain.
I don’t want to wake again, you’ll say.
I can make that happen, Jenn, I vow,
not knowing if I have that power;
yet it’s a promise I feel I must make.
Sleep becomes such a blessed refuge,
your waking hours a litanous suffering,
miserable mission of purpose-riven pain.
What good is it to be aware:
to feel your femurs grind on pelvis,
to sense the seizing ache of bruises
on legs, on arms, on cheek, on brow,
to agonize ten-score scars on ribs
wracked by protein-starved corpuscles
whose pauce mean volume no longer
supports cortical lamellation of bone?
That conscious thought still yields
love is indeed a work of the Divine.
But to sleep, perchance to dream…
I sadly wake to observe this peace,
this pact of passive resistance,
to preside over your final rest—
this rite of infinite possibility.
May your grass ever grow.
May your river ever, ever run.