Effort at Speech Between Two People

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:  Speak to me.  Take my hand.  What are you now?
  I will tell you all.  I will conceal nothing.
  When I was three, a little child read a story about a rabbit
  who died, in the story, and I crawled under a chair  :
  a pink rabbit  :  it was my birthday, and a candle
  burnt a sore spot on my finger, and I was told to be happy.

:  Oh, grow to know me.  I am not happy.  I will be open:
  Now I am thinking of white sails against a sky like music,
  like glad horns blowing, and birds tilting, and an arm about me.
  There was one I loved, who wanted to live, sailing.

:  Speak to me.  Take my hand.  What are you now?
  When I was nine, I was fruitily sentimental,
  fluid  :  and my widowed aunt played Chopin,
  and I bent my head on the painted woodwork, and wept.
  I want now to be close to you.  I would
  link the minutes of my days close, somehow, to your days.

  O golden fructifying, O the sonorous calls
  to arms and embattled mottoes in one war
  brain versus brain for absolutes, ring harsh!
  Miners rest from blackness  :  reapers, lay by the sheaves
  forgive us our tears  we go to victory
  in a commune of regenerated lives.
  The birds of flight return, crucified shapes
  old deaths restoring vigor through the sky
  mergent with earth, no more horizons now
  no more unvisioned capes, no death  ;  we fly.

  Answer together the birds’ flying
  reconcile rest to rest
  motion to motion’s poise,
  the guns are dying the past is born again
  into these future minds the incarnate past
  gleaming upon the present
      fliers, grave men,
  lovers  :  do not stop to remember these,
  think of them as you travel, the tall kind prophets,
  the flamboyant leapers toward death,
  the little painful children
                        how the veins were slit
  into the Roman basins to fill Europe with blood
  how our world has run over bloody with love and blood
  and the misuses of love and blood and veins.
  Now we arrive to meet ourselves at last,
  we cry beginnings
  the criers in the midnight streets call dawn  ;
  respond  respond
  you workers  poets  men of science and love.

Now we can look at our subtle jointures, study our hands,
the tools are assembled, the maps unrolled, propellers spun,
do we say all is in readiness  :
the times approach, here is the signal shock  :  ?

Master in the plane shouts “Contact”  :
master on the ground  :  “Contact!”
  he looks up  :  “Now?” whispering  :  “Now.”
  “Yes,” she says.  “Do.”
  Say yes, people.
  Say yes.

© Katha Pollitt