I did not say: You are nothing to me;
I said the hummingbird, the anglerfish
are not amazed at themselves.
I did not say: I have forgotten you;
but that every day a man
finds more things that trouble him.
Not You are not beautiful,
but that, often, when I lie in the grass,
a lute sings in the earth beneath me.
Not: I regret—
but that I stare at these keys
I carry in my pocket
and think of the narrow bones
I once turned over in the garden.
Not I never loved you,
but You are all you have.
as for the rest, yes,
it is as you say, the words
are mine, but all the rooms of the world
we have lived in close now
over the words of others.
Earth, keys, man—
when will you seek out
that lamp, that light,
under which they were written?
by Ralph Culver
from: Albatross; Anabiosis Press, Spring 2009