Actress In a Bad Garden
Stepping in, she lost her name and language.
“To be only me,” had been her purpose,
“essentially me.” The warmth of the walls
spoke merely of cold on the outer side.
On their espaliers the stretched pear-trees
seemed to have been crucified. She looked down
a well: all she heard was noise without words.
And far down, the mirror that kept breaking
and coming together again gave off
more light than it ever could have received,
such quantities of painful light, harsh points,
chaos confineless, no longer constrained
by those pentameters she had now lost.
If she had remembered Lear she might have
pictured his eye caught in such a mirror.
Stepping out, she had no name or language
waiting for her. The lines had been straightened,
the hand-writing undone, wool unravelled,
one line, one dimension, no end in sight.
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