Electric Vigil

A. Alvarez

The Vigil

“The spider love, which transubstantiates all.” — Donne.

You stand in the first dumbness of the snow
As finely, the gauze drop in pantomime,
All detail fades upon your startled face
And back to darkness line and colour flow.

The paralytic rapture of the bone
Has come; what rain on stone and age in us
Raddle the snow dispenses equally —
Years towards death in one short afternoon.

The mouth lifts at one corner, on the crown
Regally twists the hair against the white
Stark imposition of a nervous fit,
Aging in frozen tumult like a clown.

You mime stock-still your final comic pose:
Seduced by the earthy Widower of Spades
Slowly to dissolution and the blank
Tumbler’s lust for stature and repose.