Kiran and Lindsay. Laurel Lake, NH. July, 2015.

Kiran and Lindsay. Laurel Lake, NH. July, 2015.

I am thinking of, and wishing I had known, Norman MacCaig…

Other Self

My inmost creature, Caliban perhaps,
Perhaps St Francis (at least, a sort of dunce)
Sits, like a Chinese sage listening to
A colloquy of summer afternoons,
Inscrutable understanding on his brow.

The panegyric that his silence is
Comes clear to me (that other sort of dunce),
Written with smallest wrinkles, the stillness of
A sleeve, the half-beginnings of a glance,
An air of sensuous contemplative.

What pool rocks what white petal in his gaze?
What fluffed out bird is blobbed upon its bough?
I can see mountains, but they are not his
Tressed with cascades and single in the sky,
Removed by poems from glittering paddy fields.

If I could make the epigram he is,
The seventeen syllables saying exactly what
They exactly do not say, this other man
Would see such blossoms frosting with their light
The barbarous province he is banished in.

Norman MacCaig

from The Poems of Norman MacCaig
by Norman MacCaig, Ewen McCaig (Editor) Polygon, 2005.