Real poets know how true is the maxim
that sorrow's always nipping at joy's heels.
My happiness is like a butterfly's: if for
an instant the sun peeps through my clouds,
the pale fire at my foot winks out the next.
I'm a pilgrim headed for the harsh land
of solitude: at home my wife weaves wool,
my parents unweave woe, worry feeds my friends.
Before me, bleak nights by candlelight: there
waits the grief that will exile me from myself.
I don't know what ties me to you, what's in
your lines that sears my eye. Time divides us,
Earth rails against us, yet our words share
the ache of solitude. Morning and night,
kernel and seed, the moment came when
I left you and clambered toward myself. I fell,
was wounded, fell again, and followed: winters
and springs crossed my pages, storms scattered
my handful of words, my poems turned to water
and ran, turned to fire and burned, I turned to stone.