From the top of the flight Of the wide white stairs Through the rest of my life Do you wait for me there?
There's a bell in my ears There's a wide white row Drop a bell down the stairs Hear it fall forever more Hear it fall forever more
Drop a bell off of the dock Blot it out in the sea Drowning mute as a rock Sounding mutiny
There's a light in the wings Hits this system of strings From the side while they swing; See the wires, the wires, the wires
And the articulation In our elbows and knees [makes them jerk in the breeze] Makes us buckle and we couple in endless increase As the audience admires milkymoon
And the little white dove Made with love, made with love Made with glue and a glove and some pliers
Swings a low sickle arc From its perch in the dark Settle down Settle down Settle down my desire
And the moment i slept I was swept up in a terrible tremor Though no longer bereft, how i shook And i couldn't remember And then the furthermost shake Drove a murdering stake in And cleft me right down through my center And i shouldn't say so But i know that it was then or never
Push me back into a tree Bind my buttons with salt Fill my long ears with bees Braying 'please, please, please, Oh you ought not! No you ought not!'
And then this system of strings Tugs on the tip of my wings Cut from cardboard and old magazines Makes me warble and rise like a sparrow
And in the place where i stood Is a circle of wood A quarter to which you chop and you stack in your barrow
And it is terribly good To carry water and chop wood Streaked with soot, heavy booted and wild-eyed
As i crash through the rafters And the ropes and the pulleys trail after And the holiest, holiest belfry burns sky high
And then a slow lip of fire Moves across the prairie with precision While somewhere with your pliers and glue You make your first incision And in a moment of almost unbearable vision Doubled over with the hunger of lions 'Hold me close', cooed the dove Who was stuffed now with sawdust and diamonds
I wanted to say 'why the long face?' [slowly slip away with your long face] Sparrow perch and play songs of long face Burro buck and bray songs of long face Sings 'i will swallow your sadness and eat your cold clay Just to lift your long face And though it may be madness, i will take to the grave Your precious long face & though our bones they may break & our souls separate Why the long face? Milkymoon And though our bodies recoil from the grip of the soil Why the long face?' [it was not my mistake, It was not your miskate; There is a bell beneath the lake And verily the spell begins to break And verily the spell begins to break]
In the trough of the waves Which are pawing like dogs Between pale-faced and grave As i write in my log And then i hear a noise from the hull Seven days out to sea And it is the damnable bell And it tolls, i believe, that it tolls It tolls for me! And it tolls for me!
And though my wrists and my waist Seem so easy to break Still my dear i would have walked you to the edge of the water
And they will recognise All the lines of your face In the face of the daughter, of the daughter, of my daughter
And darling we will be fine But what was yours and mine Appears to be a sandcastle that the gibbering wave takes
But if it's all just the same Then say my name, say my name, Say my name in the morning so that i know when the wave breaks
I wasn't born of a whistle Or milked from a thistle at twilight No, i was all horns and thorns Sprung out fully formed, knock-kneed and upright So enough of this terror we deserve to know light And grow evermore lighter and lighter You would have seen me through But i could not undo that desire