A MATTER

A matter now of memory,

these unreal follies by the sea,

from frangipani on the white-washed wall

to girls long gone, immortal,

lawns expanding down the slope

to sea with torches and the flap

of Moorish canopies, high palms traced 

against an infinity of blue, 

sea birds busy with the leaves 

in the featured shrubberies,

my life a trellis of such things,

bougainvillea, birds of paradise

frozen now in amber rings

beyond the reach of rising seas, 

neatly placed by gardeners 

against the coming doubt,

souvenirs and pictures

hoarded for the future drought,

boundless spaces in the sky

fixed against the dimming eye,

the ravaged face, profusion

of the childhood breeze proof

against the chaos in the trees,

the loss of everything on earth but place

and sun and ancient grace.