Restless Nights

‘Yellow Clouds’ – Wendy Farrow
See more of her work at 
“No more mermaids to sing this song
No seaweed noose to ensnare 
Only more uncertainty 
From this fool’s eyes
Does bleakly stare”
— yamabuki
So Let us begin
With an evening’s dawning
For on some restless night
We will surely begin again
Hopelessly wandering 
Half-deserted streets
That will lead us 
To that that final door
Where visiting is not 
A place we can visit
But you can still see the yellow fog 
rubbing its back upon the window panes       
And the yellow smoke 
Rubbing its muzzle 
Upon the reflected seas
Licking its tongue 
Into the corners of the evening
Lingering upon the pools 
Slipping by shadows 
Making its sudden leap  
Into the lonely night
Curling once around the house 
And then back into a dream
There will be time
For that yellow smoke 
With its eyes drifting past
Our salty window panes
There will be time 
To prepare a face 
To meet the faces unknown
There will be time 
To murder and create
And time for all the days
That lift and fall 
Still unfettered by the night
A time for you 
And a time for me
And time yet again
For our indecisions 
And our visions 
Before we head out to sea
And there will be time
Time to wander 
Time to wonder
Time to turn back 
And descend 
Into the depths
Of that restless sea
And do I dare        
Disturb the universe
Is there yet time
Before decisions disappear
And return once again 
To that time foretold
When our days will end
And thus have I known them 
And having known them all
The evenings
The mornings 
The afternoons        
So too have I measured my life 
And still I would say
That the dying will fall
Beneath the music 
Of death’s uncertainty
And I too have known those eyes
The eyes that call us in 
The eyes that know
That when I am falling
When I am pinned 
To broken shadows
Passing the past
In returning uncertainty
Then will I know
How to begin anew
To live out my days 
Finding ways around
All my uncertainties

And the afternoons 
And the evenings
So peacefully spent 
Soothed by long fingers
Moved to dreamless motion
Asleep … tired … and longing
Stretched out on the floor 
Here beside my uncertain dreams
Should I, after death’s calling
Force the moment to its ending  
But though I have wept and prayed
Though I have seen my head 
Brought in upon a platter
Like John the Baptist
I am no prophet
I have seen the moments flicker
I have seen the eternal guardian’s frown
And in short
I was afraid
Yet in uncertainty
I knew not why
And would it have been worth it
After the drinking
For us to talk of little things
Would it have been worth it  
To have bitten off the bitter longings 
To have compressed the universe
Toward some overwhelming place
Or does uncertainty still rule our day
And would it have been worth it
To find those lost days and dreams
After the sunsets and faded streets 
After the novels and arguments
After the clothes left along the way
Would it have been worth it
To know what my words mean
In this uncertain light
It’s impossible to say 
But if uncertain magic 
Drew patterns of light and dark
Capturing a vision of time
Would it have been time enough
To rest upon a pillow 
Or throw off a ragged life
And turning slowly
Towards the light 
Should I say instead
That I knew not what it meant
In this uncertain hour

I am not the one you seek
Nor would I do you harm
Do you smell a nightmare coming
Do you seek the moon’s advice 
Do you doubt these broken words
That tumble from my pen
Are you too
Lost in uncertainty
In these restless nights
Are you glad of hidden darkness
So poetically cautious and meticulous 
Full of high sentences 
But a bit obscure
At times almost ridiculous
Almost at times foolish
Drunken shades slip by
Sometimes glimpsed
In the folded shadows
That drift in yellow fogs
That dream of truth
And lie in uncertainty
And always arrive unbidden
With half closed eyes

Can you forgive me this imposition
These changing words 
Like waves receding
A song made old
And begin anew 
For I have come back again
Come back to tell you all
Of my dread uncertainties
Would you have me say more
Even as yellow smoke lingers
On your eyes and hands
Is there anything more
For me to say
On this restless night
With thanks to
T.S. Eliot’s shade
March 2011

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