‘Mes pensées les plus chères sont étrangères au monde, …’

– Francis Ponge: Drame de l’expression
Envy the woman who lives on an island
snugged round by a girdle of water
who can utter words of stone and flatter
the stranger

her house is roofed of wind and straw
with a hearth of bones and a half-door
of beaten earth and melancholy the floor
and nothing more

for bread she has the host of the moon
for wine the harbour water and the rain
the consecrated sacrament of Christ’s pain
more loss than gain

the island is a soul, the world is far
the foreigner is venal, a sputtering light –
envy her close and cold and infinite spite
water-hearted, swaddled in ropes of tar
mute and rooted, as the dead are.

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