I’ve always loved the word Translucent,
its gently shuttling ray.
It doesn’t promise clarity
but that, even where the eye can’t penetrate,
you can thread reason through it.
The alchemy of elements
takes place in a clear test-tube,
rocking between the same and different.
The egg’s limpid albumen, brushed by the finger of fire,
is shocked to hard whiteness and never returns.
Dull sand to rippled glass, but the torn underbelly
of a ramping wave, brief whirlwinds of sand
dulling its glassy monumental surface.
Snow versus ice,
rain gathered in a glass.
And I wonder: sun through leaves and breeze
and then my unclear, glacially flowing window
creates the very same meditative waves
as sun through running water.
Oh and I once stood on the seashore
and turned to find myself observing
the underside of a sudden wave
and marveled at its soda-glass color,
its charge of concentrated light,
perfect aquamarine against blue sky
for an unprotected instant before it smacked me down
with salt pain in my eyes.
And then there was the door
of the house where my granny was born
a hundred years before: the lowering
grey granite houses, dour as the inhabitants,
three stories with perhaps another
beneath the eaves, and the grey pavements.
The Scottish chill in August: I had to dress
in every layer I’d brought in my suitcase.
And then the door, painted a bright
incongruous red. Right out of character:
it can’t have been red then.
I still have a photograph, I have
stories from behind the door: words I use
to pick its inconspicuous lock.