Death of a Son
(who died in a mental hospital aged one)
Something has ceased to come along with me.
Something like a person: something very like one.
And there was no nobility in it
Or anything like that.
Something there was like a one year
Old house, dumb as stone. While the near buildings
Sang like birds and laughed
Understanding the pact
They were to have with silence. But he
Neither sang nor laughed. He did not bless silence
Like bread, with words.
He did not forsake silence.
But rather, like a house in mourning
Kept the eye turned in to watch the silence while
The other houses like birds
Sang around him.
And the breathing silence neither
Moved nor was still.
I have seen stones: I have seen brick
But this house was made up of neither bricks nor stone
But a house of flesh and blood
With flesh of stone
And bricks for blood. A house
Of stones and blood in breathing silence with the other
Birds singing crazy on its chimneys.
But this was silence,
This was something else, this was
Hearing and speaking though he was a house drawn
Into silence, this was
Something religious in his silence,
Something shining in his quiet,
This was different this was altogether something else:
Though he never spoke, this
Was something to do with death.
And then slowly the eye stopped looking
Inward. The silence rose and became still.
The look turned to the outer place and stopped,
With the birds still shrilling around him.
And as if he could speak
He turned over on his side with his one year
Red as a wound
He turned over as if he could be sorry for this
And out of his eyes two great tears rolled like stones,
and he died.
We all cry for love;
But what if we get it? To hold
In sex, and affection,
The adored human creature
Making of both a unit
In love, and procreate
Which is the end of love,
Drops one small image into
A widening universe.
Man’s love disintegrates
In the space void of him;
And gradually he comes
To know that he is small.
What is man’s love? To hold
Into despair the loving creature,
And propagate an image
Is the utmost. Beyond his tides
The chronic invalids
Of broken universes
Wait in derision on man.
Yet he was formed to love.
Earth cries, sun cries,
With the stark, hapless Gods
Phenomenal of matter
In space, to this end.
But when man reaches this
And grows into himself,
He dwindles to his size.
His spaces melt into him
He occupies no area.
Love then is the space of destruction,
And but for the harmonies
Of despair, he is nothing.
Weep, then, to be a stone
Or a cold animal
In servitude to something
Other than consciousness
Which love brings; since that shape
Or measure, in awareness
Through love of what we are,
Is that measure of space death is.