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II The School Globe

James Reaney


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To My Love

Sometimes I see why
People must die.
They die because they have
Too many sunsets
Stuffed into their brain.
Thousands of red and orange apples
Crowd and jostle in their mind.

But I shall not die
Although I’ve eaten half the stars
And the moon in all her masks
Of mist, dry black air,
And wind-pursued clouds;
Although my ears I’ve crammed
Full with the wild song of birds
Whose old music is sewed
And stitched with silver thread
Behind my eyes forever.

I shall not die
Though I have passed on winter afternoons
An empty house where someone played
A listless waltz upon a sad piano
And knew I should never hear
Anything as step-slowing
As that gay-gray tune again.
I shall not die
Though if I heard whoever whistled
Far away that humdrum summer afternoon,
If I heard that again
That sound should murder me.

Though down my tongue
Is thrust all sweet tastes,
Peppermint, turkish delight,
Cloves, cinnamon and honeycomb;
Though my fingers tingle
With the remembrance
Of velvet, silk, and corduroy;
Though all my senses
For essences, noises, tinkles,
The summer winds filled
With the voices of flowers
That cry for too short a season;
Though I’ve devoured all substance
In twenty-one years,
I shall not, must not die
Until, my Love,
Like a fantastic white glove
You my hand
(Each finger for a special sense)
Tries on
Then dig my grave
For I am ripe
For senseless, languageless lifelessness.