Why this world ?

Why this world ?

Mid-September walking down
         Fitzjohn’s Avenue in Hampstead
pavements carpetted
         in dry brittle leaves
autumn with a vengeance
         and I think
be articulate
         be vocal
be demonstrative
         and beware
you may indeed find
         what you are looking for
and yet lose what you have
         money is a broad church
ambition too
         and love is not a lifestyle

Then on to Maresfield Gardens
         to the house where Sigmund Freud
lived his final years
         and which he called
‘our last address on this planet’
         and I wonder where he thought
he was headed
         perhaps to the Western Lands
of Egyptian mythology
         and how we are
to the best of our knowledge
         the only conscious beings
in the universe
         and for that reason its centre
although it has no centre
         and with consciousness
the need to express
         to understand and share
our inner thoughts
         and our feelings
to represent them
         in language and in every
conceivable art
         to communicate through
broad verbal gestures
         and I read Sharon Olds
and the outpourings
         of raw emotion in her poetry
as daughter mother and partner
          acutely perceptive and confessional
centred as she is on
         the intimacies and obsessions
around her sexuality
         and filled with vital images
that remind me that I too
         have seen healing sunshine
penetrate another body
         seen the light absorbed
in the hair and under the skin
         and into the smile
and known that love
         is not an object
nor an attitude
         of the will or the mind
but an irresistible gravitational
         urge or movement
towards another being
         I too saw one such sit
legs crossed
         by the open window
and watched
         as recollections of the past
percolated through her sensibility
         her hair swept back
and on her thin lips
         an expression
of unfinished business
         and why this world
in which so little
         is ever truly owned
except perhaps
         in the nakedness of love
and the conviction
         that it is the only thing
that mitigates
         against the final
handful of ash and dust
         tossed pointlessly
from the Brooklyn Bridge

         or some such height

Late swell of summer sun
          with the beauty and silence
of vast autumn migrations
         abandoned lives
hung in wardrobes
         epic manifestations
of the providential body
         and each word
each chosen action
         weighed in the balance
praying for the wisdom
         God help us
to know love when we see it
         to respond to love when we feel it
and again
         why this world
and was any of this
         all the chaotic stuff of years
anything other than
         really necessary
to quote Wallace Stevens
         a thoroughly necessary life
and a necessary love
         and longing to lie
secure and at ease
         in the accuracy
of her necessary arms and to be
         finally acknowledged

John Lyons