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Lay for the Day 9th May


Into the underworld to mark the birth of Dante Alighieri, in Florence, in 1265.


Acheron

A boat stands to on a stream without sound
whose coiling waters are shadows and smoke
like thread from the bobbin of earth unwound.

Beaten by boredom, a few lie aground
and plead to board where, beneath a riven oak,
a boat stands to on a stream without sound,

while the fair and the great in lines are bound
for a passage and berth they can’t revoke,
like thread from the bobbin of earth unwound.

When you and I beneath a single mound
have come to the place where time has no stroke,
a boat stands to on a stream without sound,

and the misty bank is littered with browned,
curled leaves, the fallen crowns of ones who spoke
like thread from the bobbin of earth unwound,

may we linger a moment, turning round
to share a word, recall when last we woke.
A boat stands to on a stream without sound
and there the morning of our darkness broke
like thread from the bobbin of earth unwound.

 

John Gibbens
from Zeus’s Camera

 

The Lay Reader: an archive of the poetic calendar