Of Space and Time

For we have seen wild geese in passage, low
over the needles of gold weathervanes
that spin the wind around; primeval arrow,
harbinger of the north; and heard again
the sound of distance falling as they go.
Lucifer fell from heaven; that was down.
And on the pole of gravity we move,
placing the stars above the steepled town
with names, as if the Pleiades could prove
a difference between then and now.
Memory is a trick to save the mind
from too far wandering. Mind has no place
but recognitions whistling on the wind
of roofs and spires, and a certain grace
of valleys that the great wings leave behind.
So we have seen and shall forever see
wild geese stretched upon an oval sky.
(Sight, created by the will to be,
and flight, the passionate desire to fly.)
The shell of vision holds reality.
Birds, warriors of space, who lightly wear
your ancient armor: in your dance
set free our orisons, and on the air
describe the necessary relevance
that mind can only know and body bear
with the wild gesture that becomes a word.
The weathercocks bow down, the wild geese come
crying. Yet somewhere in the town are heard
school children learning in a simple tongue:
I love, you love, he loves. . . . Eternal bird
singing of time in temples of the ear:
all that we ever know is waiting, while
geese fly over at the fall of the year,
the north star takes the sky; and in a child
speaking our own mortality appears.