Wednesday, January 2, 2013

I hold all these

"An old book on the poisons
of madness, a map
of forest monasteries,
a chronicle brought across
the sea in Sanskrit shlokas.
I hold all these
but you have become
a ghost to me.

I hold only your shadow
since those days I drove
your nature away.

A falcon who became a coward.

I hold you the way astronomers
draw constellations for each other
in the market of wisdom

placing shells
on a dark blanket
saying 'these
are the heavens'

calculating the movement
of the great stars.

ix, 'The Nine Sentiments, Historical Illustrations on Rock and Book and Leaf'
Page 39, 'Handwriting', Poems by Michael Ondaatje

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