waiting, not striving, I found the room I wanted.
It was a gift, like life:
not bought but rented
from friends made at a stranger's party.
helped build the long low shelves,
it was cheerful labour. The carpet came
from my aunt,
the bay window from a dead architect,
and frames a chestnut
tree planted by a neighbour.
I fear cheerless labour lies behind every gift.
It is sore getting babies
Who built this room were badly paid.
Even gifted carpets had a weaver.
waiting, not striving, I met the woman I wanted.
She stayed a while like air
when breathing is easy.
Worst strife was to keep those who liked me least
and kept strife only. My tight grip hurted
them and myself and we parted
This woman moved on like the air,
she unhurt and I undaunted.
I fear hard breathing is part of every climb,
that the easy grip is cool, the
sore grip warm,
that bad partings mean more than kind leavings,
cannot last without doing and suffering harm.