A MATTER

A matter now of memory,
these unreal follies by the sea,
from frangpani 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 coming 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.