Thursday 30 November 2017

'All our times and tenses'

My father ( d. 1991) has been in my dreams rather a lot lately.  Just being there, not packing any particular charge or significance. Often my mother too (d.2013), both of them usually in some stage of middle age, never old. It seems quite unremarkable. We meet without surprise, as in Richard Wilbur's poem (the title poem of his last collection)...


Out of the snowdrift
Which covered it, this pillared
Sundial starts to lift,
Able now at last

To let its frozen hours
Melt into the past
In bright, ticking drops.
Time so often hastens by,

Time so often stops—
Still, it strains belief
How an instant can dilate,
Or long years be brief.

Dreams, which interweave
All our times and tenses, are
What we can believe:

Dark they are, yet plain,
Coming to us now as if
Through a cobwebbed pane

Where, before our eyes,
All the living and the dead
Meet without surprise.

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