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Arachne. No. 2

A Figure at the Window

page 12

A Figure at the Window

That was a vacant gesture. The wind
At four o'clock in the morning knew it well,
Too well, for you whose desperate small hand
Stretched only as far as the light from your window fell,
Not to be broken. But the wind that rides along
The empty street and over the shuttered sea
Will tell you her wisdom is you will listen long
To her voice. Then it will seem, for she alone is free

That it was not without a certain grace,
The ritual rising and falling of a closed hand.
In another, more remote and timeless place
It may be well founded. This renunciation may stand
Sculptured and spare, as cold as a dreaming face
And always have meaning in that wind-filled land.

The face of this land is pitted with antique marble,
The wind tells stories among colonnades;
Her voices whisper through deserted rooms, able
To wander at will, she can rule where the shades
Are perpetual, among the slender statues and the ruins
Of an early tormented time. Her tales enhance
The pale untortured beauty they assume
Under the dead light, in their perfect trance.

And one looks on with eyes as pale as glass,
Whose hands held, one time, joy and grief and pain;
But now among the marble trees he moves,
Sings with the homeless wind, as wordless as
A gathered spirit. And at last attains,
Here in this paradise, his world, and all its sorrow proves.

Spring thunder over the sleeping country
Carried from the high blue mountains a tremor of doom,
So that you asked the wind—are the heavens angry?
page 13 But the wind was ignorant, the wind played her own tune.
And again you asked—can the mountains mean murder?
But the falling leaves were indifferent, the pillars, the trees,
Would not answer. Then you wondered, can there be further
Destruction in a dead place, can the numbed hand freeze?

But the spring thunder was merciless, and an eddy of air,
Cold from serene mountains, swept all leaves
From the rooms, from the corridors, from the immaculate gardens.
Then the wind's breath, rising, sang with a severe
Hatred, like a spirit grieved by lost and remembered lives,
And you were running, running, gripped by a familiar pain.