Posted by: John Adams | October 4, 2009

De Noche

By Poh Lian Lim

I am hollow for loving
without return.
I am chambered, echoing
only your name.

falling from wretched fingers,
a handful of shriveled grass
died this long hot shimmering summer,
in the little well-loved garden;
to the eyes worn with wearied hope
the rains never came
(and tears cannot sustain life).

a whole year the wound waited,
willful with venom, throbbing with desire;
alternately a fever and a shaking chill,
bone-deep, world-vast, consuming as a fire.

rising on a morning sweet with spring
the light spills warm onto the windowsill
the violets purr, delighting in the sun.
all the world is radiant blue and gold;

and far beneath, the distant traffic hum
beside the gray-blue Hudson
murmurs ten o’clock silences
and a leisurely cup of coffee.

and wondering if I’m missing much
of that lecture when it’s really
so much nicer sitting here,
listening to the gurgle of pipes;

till, piercing deep and twisting
some thought of you comes, swifter than desire
(vivid sunlit flickers of the now-closed past)
pain catches on my breath; I recognize
familiar as only an adversary is,
in one vast inchoate cry
blotting out all affections and appetites merely human,
my old and hopeless yearning.

I wrestle, reaching wildly for a grip
on this pain that lives by the pulsing of my heart;
and in the darkness of my unknowing,
bitter with tears,
flung out like rope into the abyss
paying out endlessly
prayer yet brings easing
for this one night.

I am come into a Presence.
passionate with patience
familiar as sorrow,
stern as a rock that questions dash against
and die like waves away

into a stillness
worn and dear as a mother’s hands,
a space of mercy, a space of quiet
a dear and gracious place.

and shall I truly know
some day
that high, glad, lifting joy
that lilting happiness?

I am open to the earth and sky
washed by rain and dried by sun,
the scarecrow stands in empty fields
as happy and as free.
And wheeling seasons circle like the birds
in my embrace
transparent now of any fear

and love has made me hollow
and love has made me whole.

De noche iremos, de noche—By night we shall go, by night
que para encontrar la fuente—seeking to find the source
solo la sed nos alumbra—thirst alone our light
solo la sed nos alumbra—thirst alone our light


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