What leaves us trembling in an empty house
is not the moon, my moon-eyed lover.
Say instead there was no moon
though for nine nights we stood
on the brow of the hill at midnight
and saw nothing that was not
contained in darkness, in the pier light,
our hands, and our lost house.
Small wonder that we tired of this
and chose instead to follow the road
to the back of the island, and broke
into the lighthouse-keeper’s house.
We found the lower windows boarded up
and the doors held fast, but one.
Inside, we followed the drag of light
through empty rooms of magenta and sky blue.
This house has been decided by the sea.
These rooms are stones washed over by waves
and spray from the lighthouse
by which we undress
to kneel under the skylight.
Our hands and lips are smeared with blackberries.
Your skin, my sloe-skinned lover,
never so sweet, your hand so quiet.
The sea is breaking and unbreaking on the pier.
You and I are making love
in the lighthouse-keeper’s house,
my moon-eyed, dark-eyed, fire-eyed lover.
What leaves us trembling in an empty room
is not the swell of darkness in our hands,
or the necklace of shale I made for you
that has grown warm between us.
by Vona Groarke
From: Shale; Gallery Press, Oldcastle, 1994