Collected Poems of John Holmes
Holmes, John A., Jr.
Like a child who tiptoe at the window stands,
And flattens on the glass his brow and nose,
I press with body and outlifted hands
On time, moment by moment as it goes.
Outdoors the passing moments push and crowd.
Where are they going? Have they word for me?
Always the next will stop, and cry aloud
Incredible greetings from infinity.
Something will happen. Only glass divides
The lovely moment coming next, from this.
Breathe on the pane. But then my breathing hides
The time outdoors, and something moves I miss.
Turn back and face the lighted room again.
Here everything is sure, and meanings linger.
The clock's long hand creeps on an inch, and then
Stands still as if I touched it with my finger.
Nothing indoors is sudden, and from seven
Until one minute after, this design,
This gracious room as in a mirror given,
Balances lightly as a climbing vine.
Then the wind stirs, the willow chair complains.
Tick, says the clock, and laggard indoor time
Tries to catch up. Slowly, slowly it gains,
Till heartbeat, clock and lamplight meet and rhyme.
This is the moment-see, the whole room shines
And lives. The curtains ripple in the air.
The warm October-colored books in lines
Melt in the shadows of the curving chair.
Here is a crest of time I cannot keep.
O mind, swim into it, and let it go.
Moments will rise behind it from the deep
Where time that has not been must rise and flow.
Something has happened, but I have no word.
I nearly know; not near enough to guess.
Time like a music can almost be heard.
This was the moment. I shall remember this.