From love’s first fever to her plague, from the soft second
And the hollow minute of the womb,
From the unfolding to the scissored caul,
The time for breast and the green apron age
When no mouth stirred about the hanging famine,
All world was one, one windy nothing,
My world was christened in a stream of milk.
And earth and sky were as one airy light.
From the first print of the unshodden foot, the lifting
Hand, the breaking of the hair,
From the first secret of the heart, the warning ghost,
And to the first dumb wonder at the flesh,
Th sun was red, the moon was grey,
The earth and sky were as two mountains meeting.
The body prospered, teeth in the marrowed gums,
The growing bones, the rumour of manseed
Within the hallowed gland, blood blessed the heart,
And the four winds, that had long blown as one,
Shone in my ears the light of sound,
Called in my eyes the sound of light.
And yellow was the multiplying sand,
Each golden grain spat life into its fellow,
Green was the singing of the house.
The plum my mother picked matured slowly,
The boy she dropped from darkness at her side
Into the sided lap of light grew strong,
Was muscled, matted, wise to the crying thigh
And to the voice that, like a voice of hunger,
Itched in the noise of wind and sun.
And from the first declension of the flesh
I learnt man’s tongue, to twist the shapes of thoughts
To shade and knit anew the patch of words
Left by the dead who, in their moonless acre,
Need no word’s warmth.
The root of tongues ends in a spentout cancer,
That but a name, where maggots have their X.
I learnt the verbs of will, and had my secret;
The code of night tapped on my tongue;
What had been one was many sounding minded.
One womb, one mind, spewed out the matter,
One breast gave suck the fever’s issue;
From the divorcing sky I learnt the double,
The two—framed globe that spun into a score;
A million minds gave suck to such a bud
As forks my eye;
Youth did condense; the tears of spring
Dissolved in summer and the hundred seasons;
One sun, one manna, warmed and fed.