Philothea Walking

Colin Davis


and here at the trembling page-turning edge
between not quite yet and too late
a dog-eared storybook child
with scorched fingers and grubby face
follows a trail of crumpled leaves
to the room where the feast was set, years before
and fills a plate with others’ leavings
picking out crumbs, craving a flavor
even devoid of the memory of taste
and sifting sand through dust and ashes
for this handful of succulent morsels of meaning
as the waiters clear tables and whisper:

take only what you need
and nothing for the journey
empty your cup
that you may fill it anew
a draught of clear water
to rinse away the travel-dust
from your lips and your heart
that you may sing
give us this day
only this day
teach us each and only this:

the unparalleled sparkling joy
of one breath following another
until we can cherish
the taste of each second
as honey and wine
a salve for our hurts and a balm for our hearts
that we may bind wounds and wipe away tears
that we may give water to those on the journey
that we may feed those who cannot reach the table
that we may be silent and listen and speak:

and through these words i yearn to touch the word
that words cannot touch
and lips cannot shape
aching to hold and be held
to be whole and behold
i will hope without hoping
not to speak
but to be spoken
and to come at last
to rest within
the shelter of your wings.

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