The Muse Comes Back

Even now I come out
without a pen, proper paper,
or (what luxury) a keyboard.
I didn’t think.
I can’t believe I need to;
that I can’t take my son
for two hours through
fresh-leafed trees
in fifty different shapes
and shades of green,
banks of narcissi,
fields, where lapwings
slow-flap into distance,
without this crying need
to name it all,
to find a shape of words.

It’s new, it’s old,
it’s coming back
from somewhere else
long-lost, grown out of,
grown back into
as a tree grows out of shade
and into sunlight;
seven years of banked up poems.

So strange, and yet so sure
so certain sure, recursive.
As sure as sunlight
shines on celandines.
Sure as a child
runs across new grass
full tilt, each foot
rising and falling just right
and hair blown out behind.

I am a mirror, made of bronze
reflecting darkly,
all one piece,
set with old symbols.
What I am for: this confidence,
this need, this exaltation
of finding fitting words.

Spring 1996, Lancaster