Silver and Black


How from so bright a mirror, how
From the unreasoned well of tactless light
The enfeebling shadow flows into
The plural mould of human error!
There is an alchemy in every finger
Must call forth the nail, the simile
Of nature for the claw, the fair familiar
Of the witching skin, as mind, its metaphor,
Nurses the red thin scratch of certainty
Creeping inexorably to law.
Law, the inexorable heat-death of the heart
When the jet will be silver and the silver jet;
No more the unfettered visionings
Of passion in a drop of blood;
Now braille of arithmetic nerve
May count the phases of the undivided
Moon and mensurate infinity.
And what the iniquitous excuse?
Where, the unimaginable alibi
That we might brook success?
The swift, the tide-defying strokes
Of penless thought outwit the thoughtless pen
To print their equilibrious forms athwart
The white, the sprawling, lawless waste
Of this unseasonable page,
As if some bright, black silvery bird
Had fallen through the mirror of the moon
Where, mounting on some thermal out of time
Through silvers that no beck of movement mimes
To man's weak semblance, the black blades twist
And turn among the uninhabitable stars,
An infinite, empty grandeur of delight.
In this our literate sky we leave
Our lexical proscriptive wake,
Mingled in light with the silver and black.
Thus all perspectives draw themselves
In time; all rhymes will pay their coils
Into the matrix, the lingual mould.
Amazement stiffens into ingots,
The silver intricately mingled with
The black no more, as a declining moon
Sets over a sea like a speculum of pewter
Where grey waves tick towards their death
Like watchsprings of gunmetal.