Alison Croggon: Communion

      I show you a new world, risen,
      Stubborn with beauty, out of the heart's need.

            Taliesen 1952, RS Thomas

My flesh is sad with itself, it walks in the garden
heavy and opaque, an insoluble riddle.
The bruises on my arms are lightening
and a dew softens my mouth
as birds wink in and out of the trees.
But still I am sad.

The oranges are pale moons. The wind
sings them into eclipse and calls them
back from the black leaves.
I envy their voicelessness, their sweetness
that offers itself without stint, that falls
uncomplainingly to the grass.

I imagined a possible gentleness.
Now its agony flares into a kiss
that I can only forgive, although it kills me.
Even those who loved me are asleep.
The pigeons shift in the shade, the moon
floods me with waiting.
I have no sweetness in me tonight.
Tonight my calling is useless,
foreknown and foresuffered. If my face
chills in its blood, if my eyes remain open,
it is because all this sobbing will fall
to inhuman water.

They will say they are redeemed.
They will crown my absence with their suffering.
But I remember a crowded table
and a plate heaped with oranges
and how generous hands reached out and tore
open the common flesh.

from the sequence A Requiem