Zum Sehen geboren, zum Schauen bestellt . . .
I have seen them stand and look
Through the immense distances
Of the heart; how even the blind
Dream such invisible cities of sight.
They grope mornings down the sloped
Street to the postman’s blue cap.
What is lost to the eye is near,
Never far from where they are
In their descending age.
Always the dark swarming
To their shoulders; from the
Belltower the musical stoop
Of clockwork dolls that bend
The hours back.
They count down to the smallest
Small they know; they open their mouths
To trap air; touch the threads
Of their trousers, their stained coats.
Inside their eyes, there are planets
Spinning out of sight: ‘born to see,
They watch out.’
From Vlaminck’s Tie (Auckland/Oxford UP, 1985)
© Michael Harlow