The Overturned Head

 [Poetry], Burning Byzantium  Comments Off on The Overturned Head
Aug 272011
Stands in this sand waste
An abandoned stone,
An overturned head a half house high;
Waters that have flat its cut
Vanish as a dream untold.
But on this head is concentrate
Intolerable memories
Of youth grown old.

I am that bright familiar
Wanders through the street
And banging merchants' windows in
Must beg for my milk and meat;
My old face by time betrayed
To an indistinguishable mass,
But when night and wine grow great enough
I dance on the weedy grass.

Down this long shore as a boy
Body and soul were sure
As any pale, unalterable rock
That I now dance before.
Hands urgent as a hangman's cord,
All body warped to a board,
Creep in the salt beneath a face
Heavy, androgynous.

Sliding up through valves of storm
And mastered by a rage
The variable sea has seen that form
Descend from age to age.
Wind-beaten I but seem,
Flat on the wetted sand,
A derelict, not worth
The dock-dog's howl or tooth.