There was too much, always, then too little.
By the side of the bed I had a little bell —
at the other end of the bell, my mother.
Sickness, gray rain. the dogs slept through it. They slept on the bed,
at the end of it, and it seemed to me they understood
about childhood: best to remain unconscious.
The rain made gray slats on the windows.
I sat with my book, the little bell beside me.
Without hearing a voice, I apprenticed myself to a voice.
Without seeing any sign of the spirit, I determined
to live in the spirit.
The rain faded in and out.
Month after month, in the space of a day.
Things became dreams; dreams became things.
Then I was well; the bell went back to the cupboard.
The rain ended. The dogs stood at the door,
panting to go outside.
I was well, then I was an adult.
And time went on — it was like the rain,
so much, so much, as though it was a weight that couldn’t be moved.
I was a child, half sleeping.
I was sick; I was protected.
And I lived in the world of the spirit,
the world of gray rain,
the lost, the remembered.
Then suddenly the sun was shining.
And time went on, even when there was almost none left.
And the perceived became the remembered,
the remembered, the perceived.
From The Seven Ages (Ecco/Harper Collins, 2001)