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Lines Written for Elmo Casteln

来源: 英语作文网 时间: 2019-08-30 阅读:
Lines Written for Elmo Castelnuovo
Peter Everwine
 
          It's not time that passes, it's you, it's I
                                       -- Rutger Kopland
 
 
In winter, by late afternoon, it's almost dark
 when you come home from the mine. I hear
 the front gate creak and the metallic1 clink
 of your pail before you round the corner
 by the back steps where I've been waiting.
 In the sharp chill of the air, the mineral
 undercurrent of damp earth and shale2
 comes with you. You turn down the collar
 of your shirt and let water from the pump
 pour down your face and nape, the skin above
 your undershirt pale as the crescent moon visible
 above the darker mass of the hills.
 
• • 
 You drive for hours, heading nowhere; you walk
 the streets at night and argue with the moon --
 something hidden and manic in you emerged,
 almost unnoticed, until at last you huddled3
 homeless and bewildered under a pile
 of coats in an alleyway no wider
 than the mines you entered as a young man.
 The rat scuttling4 in the garbage bin5, the cat
 stalking the rat, did they become your familiars?
 And the passersby6, who glanced at you and hurried
 on their way, did they believe you were invisible?
 Did the tag knotted to your toe say nameless?
 
• • • 
 What I loved was the touch of your calloused7 hand
 on my head, the coal-rimmed hollows of your eyes.
 If you returned now from the sooty underworld
 in which you dwell, you would not recognize me.
 The gate is gone; the house and those who lived in it
 are hidden elsewhere. Only the crescent moon
 and darkling hills are as you left them. Come back
 as you were, if only for a moment. I'm waiting
 by the back steps. The kitchen window casts
 its light; at the laden8 table the absent prepare
 for your arrival. You will be hungry and tired,
 as in those years through which our lives passed.


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