They speak of the ghost in the machine.
But I don’t see it like that.

I see you moving and breathing —
I don’t see any machinery at all.

They say, Many years have passed since you wrote those words.
But I don’t write them like that.
My words aren’t monuments, or moments, or stars.
My words are words: they’re not integers.

And the river may enter here, or here —
you may see it like that.
And the river may lead away through August willows —
you may let it go at that —
hold it, let it go —
you may be found like that.

They speak of mortality, and of a cold universe.
But I don’t feel it like that.

Sometimes, I can hear the voice of the world, calling.

And one evening, when the river joins two seasons together
in one fluid weld,
I’ll hear the voice of a child
crying from far away, over the common.

You have made out of the soft torn flesh of strawberries
a keel in the shape of a cry.
Each evening now, when I lay my head to your naked belly,
I can hear the voice of the world.

Somewhere, the willows bend like a bow,
firing the river green.

They speak of the ghost in the machine.
But I don’t see it like that.

They speak of the pupil dilating in the iris.
But I don’t see it like that.
I see a few strands of Cornish wheat,
and an airspace sky, with a few whisps of cirrus
and endlessness, the colour of your eyes.

They say, These words were forgotten many years ago.
But I don’t see it like that.
My words aren’t memories. The eyes of my words
don’t close — perhaps you’ll see it like that.
I don’t know: perhaps you’ll see it like that.

Words are the most patient things on earth.
And words are the hardest substance in the universe.
They will outlive themselves, fall, vanish, be lost,
and still, one day,
someone will happen upon them,
and hear again the beat of a living voice,
as strong and regular as a human heart,
or as the soft dipping of fast rowers’ oars.

You’re so strong when you’re naked,
you can lay the world aside with a smile
and your sleep is as serene as the quiet night,
and as wide, as copious, as unashamed.

They speak of the gods, the stars and the host.
But I don’t see it like that.
I see you sleeping, cool and marine,
meeting the night somewhere, far beyond me.

I don’t see it.

They speak of the gods, the stars and the host.
But I don’t see it like that.
They speak of the ghost in the machine.
But I don’t see you like that.

And when you cry, I see nothing mechanical at all —
or maybe only
a tiny, fragile machine
lost in a ghost.

Some evenings, when the moon pulls,
I can hear the world call.
I lay my head to your breast:
I hear a child’s voice, across the common, in the mist.

And the willows bend like a bow,
firing the river green.

I see you like that.

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