ceyt 13.03.2013 18:38 mcabber.9de624b3

Derek Mahon

Girls on the Bridge

  Audible trout,
 Notional midges. Beds,
Lamplight and crisp linen wait
In the house there for the sedate
 Limbs and averted heads
  Of the girls out

  Late on the bridge.
 The dusty road that slopes
Past is perhaps the high road south,
A symbol of world-wondering youth,
 Of adolescent hopes
  And privileges;

  But stops to find
 The girls content to gaze
At the unplumbed, reflective lake,
Their plangent conversational quack
 Expressive of calm days
  And peace of mind.

  Grave daughters
 Of time, you lightly toss
Your hair as the long shadows grow
And night begins to fall. Although
 Your laughter calls across
  The dark waters,

  A ghastly sun
 Watches in pale dismay.
Oh, you may laugh, being as you are
Fair sisters of the evening star,
 But wait-if not today
  A day will dawn

  When the bad dreams
 You scarcely know will scatter
The punctual increment of your lives.
The road resumes, and where it curves,
 A mile from where you chatter,
  Somebody screams.

  The girls are dead,
 The house and pond have gone.
Steel bridge and concrete highway gleam
And sing in the arctic dark; the scream
 We started at is grown
  The serenade

  Of an insane
 And monstrous age. We live
These days as on a different planet,
One without trout or midges on it,
 Under the arc-lights of
  A mineral heaven;

  And we have come,
 Despite ourselves, to no
True notion of our proper work,
But wander in the dazzling dark
 Amid the drifting snow
  Dreaming of some

  Lost evening when
 Our grandmothers, if grand
Mothers we had, stood at the edge
Of womanhood on a country bridge
 And gazed at a still pond
  And knew no pain.

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