Speaks the Grand Nobody


If I were to travel all the way
to Tartu and back again,
would you at least
offer me tea and biscuits,
a shot of malt,
later in the evening,
and discussion?
I could return the favour
with stories of neither gods
nor monsters,
but of what lies between.

Put me to sleep for now
under this duck duvet
to keep me from the cold
and from the night.
How is your land?
I dream of it as snow,
with bonfires in the woods,
long songs and pagan dances.
Can one live in a dream
and yet be awake
from early on to go
and greet the milkman?

My land is wet,
short shores and isles,
and all my kinsmen live
inside a liquid crust,
their dry-salted countenance
preserved, beyond their breath
and after their desire.
My father worked on ears and eyes
for years; he then withdrew
and studied maps,
bent over them, no rest.
(I was to suffer more
on other explorations).

And then we meet at last
deep in the den of thieves
under the pouring rain.
A freezing busker sits.
Spare change is clinking,
on our bodies.

  ROPES 23 (2015), pp. 71-72

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