(after meeting the Catalan poet, Joan Margarit, in Galway)

Now, by the sea,
feet in the sea,
and the waves
washing over them,
watching these birds,
rare birds of the north,
birds with the cry
of a wolf that’s made mad
by the moon—

and the sea here so still and so pale
and the black and white birds swimming low,
half submerged and ambling about
on the ghost-grey stillness of water
like two people walking and talking
as we did that night, in the long northern light—

and I think now how simple
was simple desire,
how when I was young
I fell down into love
with every man
that I slept with—
while now I just fall into love
with the way a whole life has been lived
inside a body not young anymore,
not quick, not fine,
but thickened with all the lived life—

there are people you know for a day
and you love them and all their lived lives
and the way you can swim with them out onto water
so still and so pale that it hardly exists
except as a luminous ground
for this drifting, this talking—

but now the divers have dived,
have taken the plunge and no trace marks the swell
lying under the shift of sea-light.