Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A House of Many Walls

The tall Mission windows, where time and distance meet,
looked out over the populace passing by in the street;
I placed two glass lanterns with flues on two lamp stands.
Then I filled them with olive oil from Israel’s last strands
echoing down the Mount of Olives.

The lamps burned through the day and into the night
lighting a lofty perch of dizzying height
where my wood ladder reached
almost to the ceiling roses and plaster cornices,
against the stacks of books in all languages, all colours,
and there were bookmarks emboldening the quotes 
from the holly hedgerow.

She grows in orderly descant on Cemetery Road,
a tiny woman in green becomes this bed of thorns,
and renaissance from the inkwell flows
while the morning’s dew each grave adorns.

There were thin walls in this old house of herbs,
the opaque cups filled with boiling water curbed
the taste for anything but tea: rich, deep, and smooth;
the doors opened when the flood of customers came through,
laughing in a myriad of colors, that they had found you.

Now the blue glass glows at even bright,
one tall pillar candle burns steadily—though the night,
the beeswax emits its character light in shallows dulcet,
burning the candle at both ends and two hemispheres met;
no one could accuse you in your coldness of going South.

When the winter comes, you’ll be miles ahead
with the camomile for all those fallen ill in bed.

Olive trees, by Vincent van Gogh