WHEN WORDS COME BACK
(That They May Forgive)
There are no lessons deep enough, clear enough,
that they could hold on to or use to decipher,
or understand, or even to respond: “Of what use?”
Of what use are murmuring creeks that turn
blue when they flow into the river’s mouth
as it meanders to an open sea, itself a tributary
to all that is deep and dark and dangerous
in these untamed oceans -- beginnings and ends
of life, the vast expanse of all our explorations?
What does it matter that the moon swings low
over pine branches, or that the urgent calls
to trek back to forgotten origins are inexorable?
Old men can only counsel them enough of beauty,
because this earth makes it more often an omen
of regrets, or even an augury of faithless betrayal.
When the words they lisped---as infants turned
somnolent in old arms--come back to haunt them,
they will rush back to you and pray for strength:
“Forgive our being blind to everything beautiful.”
When that time comes, tell them: “No apologies
needed, nor did I expect them. Beauty is an omen.”
—ALBERT B. CASUGA