Buried Alive, from the book Livia (1978) in The Avignon Quintet.
A poem filling with water,
A woman swimming across it
Believing it a lake,
The words avail so little,
The water has carried them away
Frail as a drypoint the one kiss,
Renovation of a swimmer’s loving.
Attach a penny calendar to the moon
And cycle down the highways of the need,
The doll will have nothing under her dress;
With an indolence close to godhead
You remain watching, he remains watching.
When she smiles the wrinkles round her eyes
Are fitting, the royal marks of the tiger,
The royal lines of noble conduct.
Virtuous and cryptic lady, whom
The sorrows of time forever revisit,
Year after year in the same icy nook
With candles brooding or asphodels erect,
Stay close to us within your mind.
These winter loves will not deceive,
Unplanned by seasons or by kin
They fast the eye beneath the skin.