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Omaggio A Pavese

by Charles Wright

Death will come and it will have your eyes
From morning to morning, sleepless,
                            an old remorse.
Your eyes will be vain words, a silence
You’ll see as you lean out to the mirror
Each day,
        the one look that it has for everyone.

It will be like ooze from the sea,
Like stopping a vice
           and the sin. It will be like stopping the sin.
It will be the dead face in the mirror
Listening to shut lips.
It will descend silently,
                 speechlessly into whirlpools.

Death will come and it will have your eyes,
Ridiculous vice
            and the same look.
You are the great weariness.
You are scorched and burned back by the sea.
You say nothing,
            and nobody speaks to you.

This is a balance sheet and the names don’t matter.
One nail on top of another,
                    four nails make a cross.
Nothing can add to the past—
Woman is as woman does,
                    and night is always the night.
With its black heart and its black hands it lays me down.


Charles Wright’s Country Music/Selected Poems was published this year by Wesleyan Press. He lives in Laguna Beach, California. (1982)

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