new zealand electronic poetry centre


Mary Stanley

online works

To B—

Here or hereafter there is no escape
From me. My guardian spirit is gone out
Into the far shadowy paths where rest now
Your feet. I hide among the olive boughs,
The slender wreathing tendrils of the grape
Are my wild hair. Look up and see my face
Amongst the ice-bright peaks. Though sharp spears hem
You in they cannot build a wall too high
To shut me out. I am sweet water, ease
After pain, the shadow in the burning place.

And should this harsh storm shatter your belov’d
And gentle head, the thunder burst your ears,
The swift decisive steel bite your dear flesh
And dark lost ways of death’s strange kingdom claim
Your naked soul, you still have not removed
My love’s light harness shaken off my flying
Feet. Through heaven’s far valleys I shall still
Pursue and hunt you down amongst the stars
And dim blue aisles of air. I shall awake
Hell’s fiery deeps with echoes of my crying.

And if beyond this life only the grey
Waters of oblivion lie, and all that once
You were goes down into that waste of silence,
I still shall rest in that same earth that shelters
Your dead hands and sightless eyes. Day
And night spin round us both. The wind and clear
Rains dissolve and fuse our final dust
As once our bodies were when strong waves,
Lifting, drowned us. Blind and breathless we lay
At the world’s heart, O my very dear.


© Mary Stanley

Last updated 11 May 2001