The wind is blowing dry the wood
weíll burn upon the fire tonight
and out at sea, each fishing boat
is glowing like a candle light.
But I cannot sleep, and cannot calm
this inner storm, since thereís no balm
for growing old, and going out.
I donít believe Ďthe soul takes flightí:
Iíve never managed more than doubt
to keep any kind of hope afloat;
I cannot pray, and if I could
put aside my compass-less selfhood
a deeper voice would mock, and list
deathbed conversions of the past
which donít convince, being surely mere
attempts to hedge bets at the last,
or worse Ė plain cowardice. Quite so,
yet I know thereís much Iíll never know
and itís true the longer Iím alive
the more mysterious the vast
stretch of time and space, while Iíve
a sense of wonder at being here
however briefly, still at least
able to ask why I exist.
Youíre sleeping. Good. May your dreams be
tranquil illusions, not the dark
turmoil which woke me. Iíll try to read
till another winter day embarks
and the distant boats are back in port
while the falling wind and dawn support
a sense of fresh beginning, though
short-lived Ė I canít ignore the stark
consciousness thereíll soon be no
new voyage to come, but also indeed
no mooring where, incredibly,
sunset and sunrise would blaze as one for me.
If you have any thoughts on this poem, Tom Vaughan would be pleased to hear them.