a) Child Walking (1956)
This child sleeps in the daytime,
With his abandoned, with his jetsam look,
On the bare mattress, across the cot's corner;
Covers and toys thrown out, a routine labour.
Relaxed in sleep and light,
Face upwards, never so clear a prey to eyes;
Like a walled town surprised out of the air -
All life called in, yet all laid bare
To the enemy above -
He has taken cover in daylight, gone to ground
In his own short length, his body strong in bleached
Blue cotton and his arms outstretched.
Now he opens eyes but not
to see at first; they reflect the light like snow,
And I wait in doubt if he sleeps or wakes, till I see
Slight pain of effort at the boundary
And hear how the trifling wound
Of bewilderment fetches a caverned cry
As he crosses out of sleep - at once to recover
His place and poise, and smile as I lift him over.
But I recall the blue-
White snowfield of his eyes empty of sight
High between dream and day, and think how there
The soul might rise visible as a flower.
b) The Space Between (1982)
From this high window best, you see the briar rose
In its short flowering - how the yellow one has spread
Rangy above the white on the deep-sea garden bed;
As clouds lie over clouds in archipelagos,
But small as petals on the grass, under the wing
Of the soaring plane. And are they clouds or can they be
Those deepest down, foam flecks or mountain waves of sea?
Our eyes are dazed by nature's see-through curtaining,
Layer upon layer stretched, woven to all degrees
Of part-transparency: the rose, knotted like lace
To a star pattern, thins between to stellar space.
Through eyes before they learn level the galaxies,
It is not the flowers' selves only, webbed in their skies of green,
It is depth they grand to sight; it is the space between.