AUBADE (in memoriam Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy)

Beckoned anew to a World
where wishes alter nothing
expelled from the padded cell
of Sleep and re-admitted
to involved Humanity,
again, as wrote Augustine,
I know that I am and will,
I am willing and knowing,
I will to be and to know,
facing in four directions,
outwards and inwards in Space,
observing and reflecting,
backwards and forwards through Time,
recalling and forecasting.

Out there, to the Heart, there are
no dehumanised Objects,
each one has its Proper Name,
there is no Neuter Gender:
Flowers fame their splendid shades,
Trees are proud of their posture,
Stones are delighted to lie
just where they are. Few bodies,
comprehend, though, an order,
few can obey or rebel,
so, when they must be managed,
Love is no help: We must opt
to eye them as mere Others,
must count, weigh, measure compel.

Within a Place, not of Names
but of Personal Pronouns,
where I hold council with Me
and recognise as present
Thou and Thou comprising, We,
unmindful of the meinie,*
all those We think of as They.
No voiced is raised in quarrel,
but quietly We converse,
by turns relate tall stories,
at times just sit in silence,
and on fit occasion I
sing verses sotto-voce,
made on behalf of Us all.

But Time, the domain of Deeds,
calls for a complex Grammar
with many Moods and Tenses,
and prime the Imperative.
We are free to choose our paths
but choose We must, no matter
where they lead, and the tales We
tell of the Past must be true.
Human Time is a City
where each inhabitant has
a political duty
nobody else can perform,
made cogent by Her Motto:
Listen, Mortals, Lest Ye Die.

(August, 1973)

*meinie: an obscure Scots and Irish word for household or family