The Silence is All

Oddjob, a Bull Terrier
by Derek Walcott, from Selected Poems 

You prepare for one sorrow, 
but another comes. 
It is not like the weather, 
you cannot brace yourself, 
the unreadiness is all. 
Your companion, the woman, 
the friend next to you, 
the child at your side, 
and the dog, 
we tremble for them, 
we look seaward and muse
it will rain. 
We shall get ready for rain; 
you do not connect
the sunlight altering
the darkening oleanders
in the sea-garden, 
the gold going out of the palms. 
You do not connect this, 
the fleck of the drizzle
on your flesh, 
with the dog's whimper, 
the thunder doesn't frighten, 
the readiness is all; 
what follows at your feet
is trying to tell you
the silence is all: 
it is deeper than the readiness, 
it is sea-deep, 
earth-deep, 
love-deep.

The silence is stronger than thunder, 
we are stricken dumb and deep
as the animals who never utter love
as we do, except
it becomes unutterable
and must be said, 
in a whimper, 
in tears, 
in the drizzle that comes to our eyes
not uttering the loved thing's name, 
the silence of the dead, 
the silence of the deepest buried love is
the one silence, 
and whether we bear it for beast, 
for child, for woman, or friend, 
it is the one love, it is the same, 
and it is blest
deepest by loss
it is blest, it is blest.

Baxter, July 9, 2015

Baxter, July 9, 2015