Through the long telescope of thirty years
I see a stoneware bowl, perched on a table.
I had glanced up from reading, saw this crater
balanced on one foot, a flower of clay
brimful of light.
A few days later my young schoolboy son
swung his batwing raincoat round his shoulders
and swept the bowl from tabletop to floor.
It shattered, but its image stayed intact
in time’s vacated room.
My son is now the parent of a child
called Ammar, meaning – He that shall not die.
I see him with clear eye: he is adopted;
his features are not blurred by likenesses
to this or that relation.
He stood between the knees of my grown son
and he appeared to me a shining man,
naked of his body, in his soul;
his constant self, complete from the beginning;
the self he would unfold.
And, one winter evening, my old love –
my dear old love who had begun to die –
was sitting by the fireside, half asleep
or thinking, with his face propped on his hand,
and he was young again.
He looked as he did fifty years ago.
His pouchy face was ironed out, uncrumpled;
his widely spaced, imaginative eyes
were full of thought, or dream. If I was dreaming,
my tenderness was real
as that I felt when we were setting out
with both our lives a mountain road before us.
We drove tall morning shadows on ahead,
trod on dark dwarfs at noon, and trailed behind us
tired shadows, stretched by sunset
and then we bivouacked in woods or fields,
and one another’s arms. But that was then.
We made such journeys: Cornwall, Wales and Ireland,
the Hebrides, our children, middle age,
till we arrived, white haired,
at now. But those times live, coiled in the present
or rolled in an embroidered bale called Past:
a tapestry to hang across the sky
one day when all is simultaneous.
I’ve had mad glimpses of it.
– Anna Adams