Nail Chiodo

Loud in War

Canto VIII

In the wind cellars of memory age the howlings of the heart;
Dumb are the eardrums to the raging there ensconced.
Muse, take us for a spin in your mama’s cart,
Make us privy to what were our haunts!
Like a long-petalled daisy, Kris plucked Lud:
One day she’d love him, the next day not;
Had she not feared he’d prove a dud,
She might as easily have let him drop.
The two ages typical of American women—
Nubile independence and marital symbiosis1

In her giddy person were rolled into one
Ball of wool big as the Louisiana Purchase.
(There’s never a need to stand on ceremony
If everything is accustomed, ceremonious2:
Lud and she were, in effect, as good as married
For our theoretical purpose.)
It is a well-known singularity in Nature
That the greatest joy of all enamoured lad and lass
Is to meet up again with one another
After a time never seemed would pass.
Less often suspected is instead the fact
That, by Man’s special birthright, it is when
The two separate, rather, that joy can cataract
Into ecstasy; for it is especially then
That the Mind of lovers is apt to behold
The billowing Space between them simply
As being the form in which Time unfolds.
Lud experienced such a going hence distinctly
While setting forth in a taxi one day:
The wife-mistress waving farewell from the sidewalk
Was no less close to him though moving away;
Space appeared curved by a sort of mock
Gravity in the unerring footfall of events,
Which were all vouchsafed, as it were, by Time
And by it steadfastly set in correspondence
With one another… A shiver up the spine
(Which lasted then for a full hour)
Evoked the broken wall that lay ahead,
The ritual burning roof and tower,
And Lennon dead3
Letting go of one another, enlarging
The freedom of one’s lover with all the inner
Freedom one can summon, are things—
As the Poet says—lovers must learn4

How to do, which do not come natural,
Yet essential if love and death are to be powerful
As jealousy and the grave are cruel5
And that much, if but intuitively, Kris knew
And imparted to Lud with will untamable,
Not once glancing back as she led the way6.

  1. cf. Alexis de Tocqueville, On Democracy in America, bk. III, part 3, chpts. 9-10.

  2. cf. W.B. Yeats, A Prayer for My Daughter.

  3. cf. W.B. Yeats, Leda and the Swan.

  4. cf. R.M. Rilke, Requiem for a Friend.

  5. Song of Solomon 8:6.

  6. cf. the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice.

Canto IX