Pushing the limits of fragile as strength,
you endure, an impoverished queen in exile.
Waiting for your grandson to finish playing,
you quietly hold court in the park.
A cormorant spreads its wings to warm itself
in your sun-filled voice over the phone.
It lulls me back into a stroll through a rose-garden
near midnight, and your blessing on my road.
You ask me, how are things? I pause, over the
translation from sycamore into spruce.
During winter, a tide in Cook Inlet is bizarre.
The once-grey ocean becomes an ice-factory,
conveys it in crackling sheets side-ways,
grinding it inexorably into shards by the shore.
The biting wind only allows a few moments to stare
at the way the ice plays tricks with light,
giant pastel lanterns flick shadow-puppets
across Sleeping Lady's grandest pinkish-orange peignoir.
While your voice, dear friend, is a flock of wax-wings
Swooping round me, a figure-eight, a sudden gathering-in.
A dreamless sleep falls from the shimmering leaves. --Sappho fragment, tr. Andrew Bellon I changed, thickened, ...
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