Friday, April 4

Entrance From Sleep

To wake into the afternoon for you
Is a familiar gesture. Upon the eye,
As dawn to the shade-embroidered fountain brings
The young fern's wisdom, the first world takes shape
Where shadow and light on a white ceiling meet;
And the late garden builds its trellises
And the machinery of light begins.

To wake is to become what one first sees.
So, waking upon beaches, one is a shell,
A tide; or, afternoons in an apartment
Above a garden, levels of shade and sun
Through which you wade like eyes in tapestries
That wake only when struck by light and take
Advantage of this grace to change our sleep

Or plant an image of our wakening.
So you, with a Medici smile, becoming not
A twilight personage but the danceable gloom
And music of all shade, wake trailing song
As in an hour of hot brilliance what
Happens is a wrung memory of light
And all shade is what music we have rung.

-- James Merrill

James Merrill