It is hard for us to enterthe kind of despair they must have known
and because it is hard we must get in by breaking
the lock if necessary for we have not the key,
though for them there was no lock and the surrounding walls
were supple, receiving as waves, and they drowned
though not lovingly; it is we only
who must enter in this way.
Temptations will beset us, once we are in.We may want to catalogue what they have stolen.
We may feel suspicion; we may even criticize the décor
of their suicidal despair, may perhaps feel
it was incongruously comfortable.
Knowing the temptations thenlet us go in
deep to their despair and their skin and know
they died because words they had spoken
returned always homeless to them.
First published in The Pocket Mirror (George Braziller, 1967)
Collected in Storms Will Tell (Bloodaxe Books, 2008)
Cover Illustration: 'The Stolen Child' by Tabitha Vevers