The world is lonely wherever you are not
(and so lovely wherever you are…)—
The winds that blow across so many Mexican ranches are chilly
Like the bottoms of icy oceans.
The grass is less lovely and less green
When you are not near the grasses to make them as they should be.
The ice caps grow chillier than they should.
They shock the whole world into a blanket of the blackest ice.
The rains that fall across Asian rice fields
Are like pelts of ice that ruin the crops and livelihoods
Of all paupers, everywhere.
The world is lonely where you are not—
When you are beside me, a chill falls over the next county,
And the hills of all the Western mountains miss you, too.
And, then, when you are on the top of some such mountain (as you are bound
To be), not just I, but the whole South, the whole world
Is lonely for you the way they are lonely for heavenly realms.
The stars, too, are cold and jealous
But you cannot touch them, and so
Please, stick to those things you can touch:
Glaciers and streams and oceans and a hill
And me at times and others at times—
For you, my dear darling, will soon be touching all.
So, when you fear for the chill that falls several months behind and before you,
Do not mourn for the people of those icy realms
For they, perhaps in the back or the front of you,
Will have once felt the warmth of your presence and your song.
The world, you see, is all yours, my darling dear,
And though you may not conquer it (the way you conquer
Many and mountains and me),
You will warm it over, from icy to icy pole,
With your warmest songs.
29 December 2007