Poem of the Month, March 2015: Pavane for a Dead Infanta

(CLICK HERE  for a Sequel to the Pavane: The Moon Has Gone Down)

PAVANE FOR A DEAD INFANTA

Wednesday night at home alone

 

Nothing remains for me but to recite
Namo Amida Butsu.

I rang my cousin in Bolivia
to speak of Paloma’s death.

I walk in circles round the room,
waiting for Maria to get back.

I could number the reasons for living
on the fingers of one hand.

She has framed the photograph of Julia
and it stands on my desk

under the white orchids
which are staring at me with unseeing eyes.

A normal person would switch on the telly
or listen to music.

I can only think of saying nembutsu
to pass the wakeful hour.

My brain has come to a grinding halt.
The candle went out by itself.

I wonder how it feels
to be setting out on one’s final journey.

Will she find the safe and narrow pathway
between the furious waves?

Angels attend thee! I have done.
There is no more poetry in me.

One late night appearance –
cousin Paloma seems to have reached the moon.

Never again will I gaze at that white orb,
without seeing her smile.

For my family in Peru and Spain, 4 March 2015.