ADELE NE JAME
for my daughter
Silence was Thoreau's proof against cynicism.
Outside your window the morning air is a whirl
of blossoms and rain as if working furiously
towards some gladness—and you asleep
as I watch, working out some dream
of your life—now where it is all a beginning,
paused like a diver on the highboard, balancing
all her weight on her toes, heart like a furnace
that moment before the fall into the unforgettable blue.
And what counterstatement can survive
the body's frenetic demands? At your waking
I might say, the moon comes and goes—
or mention the black angel whose wings are velvet
and always widespread—or offer instead
the story of my Father's sister, eighty years ago
a child herself, who after losing
ten brothers and sisters to the great war,
walked across the blazing desert alone
from Damascus to Beirut. Her whirling robes
like her heart, a weapon against that ruined world.