What they are saying is
that there is life there, too;
that the universe is the size it is
to enable us to catch up.
They have gone on from the human;
that shining is a reflection
of their intelligence. Godhead
is the colonisation by mind
of untenanted space. It is its own
light, a statement beyond language
of conceptual truth. Every night
is a rinsing myself of the darkness
that is in my veins. I let the stars inject me
with fire, silent as it is far,
but certain in its cauterising
of my despair. I am a slow
traveller. But there is more than time
to arrive. Resting in the intervals
of my breathing, I pick up the signals
relayed to me from a periphery I comprehend.
by R. S. Thomas
from Frequencies (1978)
Kate in full day in the heat of the sun
looks into the grave, sees in that unearthing
of a Roman settlement, under a stone
only the shadow of a skeleton.
Gwyn on his back in the dark, lying
on the lawn dry from months of drought,
finds in the sky through the telescope
the fuzzy dust of stars he had been searching.
Imprint of bones is a constellation
shining against silence, against darkness,
and stars are the pearly vertebrae
of water-drops against the drought, pelvis,
skull, scapula five million light years old
wink in the glass, and stardust is all we hold
of the Roman lady’s negative
in the infinite dark of the grave.
by Gillian Clarke
from New Poems