Just back, still in jet lag, I don’t know why
when I hung the two big white sheets
out to air in the windy sun, why I felt
I was surrendering something, or to something,
and not knowing what. But I know
I couldn’t take my eyes off the flapdance they were doingpinned
to the flimsy line and flying
up in the flapping rapture of loose sails
growing taut with wind-breath, a fresh
kind of inspiration after months in the dark
of a damp cupboard. And striking, too,
the way the shadows
of fuchsia and sycamore and hawthorn leaves
printed and played among the great
ripplings of linen and cotton, so they were
mixed in one another, none distinct as simply itselfthe
ways bodies between the sheets
want to be and sometimes are
in a lengthy strenuous unravelled
coming together. And the sound-a cracking
of whips, then silence, then a low slow
tapping that, caught by a sudden gust, goes wild
like a dancer disappearing
into the throb and blaze of the music and
becoming smoke, a nameless shape,
a swirling off. Something, it must have been, in the air
showed me all this as some
sort of surrender, the moment held and yet
in motion, one being in the grip
of another, and both
located, quickened, invisibly enlarged by it
and feeling themselves
as the sheets in their flying and shining moments
might feel themselves to be like angels
or ghosts of their own better selves come back.