for Diethard Leopold
It wasn't roasted chestnuts in their cones,
a roller-coaster's ups and downs
or that famous ferris wheel's slow turns,
but the quiet of the Lilliputbahn's
station platform, where we sat
until the train arrived, which came
to represent for me Vienna's quiet.
Because they had taken a piece of its heart
during the seven German years,
if through the Prater's woods a train's
going in mist with an echo of voices,
its clatter among the leaves explains
why quiet on that station platform
came to represent Vienna's quiet.
I'm taking exactly what can't be undone
to hurl it, at least in a manner of speaking,
into a future, as trees on the turn
will bear this summer's memories
but hint while they do of a chill to come.
We had arrived by the Lilliputbahn.
I was listening in to Vienna's quiet
among the leaves of an early autumn.
In This Life
With the torque of a ceiling propellor
precarious as it drives still air
in this life, there's waking alone
on a far side of the globe or town;
there's waiting on benches, choked by routine,
to glimpse the new-born through a glass screen
and family matters we wanted to tell you
but had to postpone.
In this life there's no end of scars,
no end of being in the wars
a car crash, brain surgery, now the caesarian
cut faintly marring your mother.
But in the other, we're walking near home
through outskirts flecked with shade and sun,
for though life itself's an idea
(naming, imagining you) it's one
the future will just have to play by ear.