For the intercourse of angels is a light
Where for its moment both seem lost, consumed.
Delicate as a secret written on onion skin, laid like • a tear under an eyelid, your name seared with vulpine • chagrin these lips of mine whenever I would let them • divide to whisper it, a word more like a sword • once said, piercing breath, splitting to splinter every moment memory • spent mentioning it, every moan an omen warning me never • to forget him, the man whose tongue my own had • •
known more times than the cavernous throat of our den • dawn’s fingers would as each morning they crept in, and • toward our season’s end our desire refused to crawl, but • thrusted, two hermits relentless mendicants, together begging of the other • another and another winter without discontent to out-manœuvre or • hide from under shelter of some wayward angel’s bent wings, • I remember you were so clever then, fermenting my vitriol’s • •
vinegar, sweetening its bitterness to an elixir which had on • me the effect of sweat-flavoured liquor, how saying your name • again and again, when we would both come in tandem, • at once shook open a wound of earth and filled • in the desert path to our oasis, foreseeing our congress • the ancients, in an untranslatable portion of one of their • more obscure portents had this to say of that chase • •
which led a satyr into the midst of a lion, • that instead of devouring him, he asked the creature to • share his bed, adamant that the way to this place, • the paradise of our parents, remain absent from maps, its • location unmentioned, for when I look back on that occasion, • a sphinx claws at my thoughts, puzzling me with the • possibility that our meeting was no accident, it was providence.
1W. B. Yeats, “Ribh at the Tomb of Baile and Aillinn”, [Stanza 2, Lines 15–16], in “from A Full Moon in March (1935)” of W. B. Yeats: Poems selected by Seamus Heaney, published at London by Faber and Faber in 2004; page 101.