from Goldbeater’s Skin:
Hornpipe for Saints
From the pink lythrum a double buzz,
one from the bees in their engrossed collectivity
and the other its twin, or image in my brain
pressing out from that center; sympathetic,
desiring that nectar, and in an identical way
devoid of nuance or volition. The acquired taste
is salty, then bitter, and the cry is
simplify, simplify though with each dispossession
words crowd more thickly to their source.
Another difference: we are not
bounded in our passions, acts of aggression
not lethally finite—the greater likeness
therefore is the wasp, that other maker
who stings and stings again even as he plies
his own crisp watermark, indwelling
yet aloft, as we are not, excepting
those clumsy mechanical improvisations
or else the night’s dreaming, that purest ambition,
We have cheated death again. Then spasm,
the body’s strict account laid open
to gravity’s garnish, roused at last into the same light.
Sour ghost of sweetness on the tongue.