Let Us Go Down

 

Let us go down to the wharves in the morning

To see ships sail and the sun rise

And the glassy sea sucking at souls.

Let us go arm in arm like lovers,

For are we not people together, you and I?

Were we not both born of woman’s womb?

Why do we stand in this mystery’s middle and squabble?

Why do we stare at the sight of each other and wonder,

And lie to each other softly with thick tongues?

Let us remember the things we remember together:

The sun rising; the shadows shortening;

The midday meal steaming on plates;

The afternoon coffee coming in cracked cups;

Dinner burned and the beef tough;

The sun setting; the night falling;

And once in Madrid, foreign flowers beneath a window after dark.

Let us think of the things we know:

How a knife stuck in a man’s ribs

Robs him of life and destroys his valuable laughter,

And sets down the love he bears,

And burdens his women,

And stains the souls of his children.

Let us remember our own loves with their willing laughter,

And the thrust of the heart at the touch of a silent girl.

Let us stand and look at the sucking sea, you and I,

And remember together that death is very, very final.

 

 

May 16, 1965