The Even Skein

Ragged ends
are the world's ends: land in water, wind-woven branches,
sea-spray, star-fret, any atmosphere;
and everywhere
where mind meets matter, fray'd nerves
and tender fingers, feeling the stone's jagged edge;
ragged ends of love
that can never be complete,
secret meetings, interrupted speech,
broken handshakes
and the shuffle of reluctant feet
down alleys where the broken light
falls brokenly
on broken walls.

Ragged ends of life that has no aim
but plucks its flowers with a ragged stem
perhaps arranges them
in a bowl of clouded glass
where for a day or two
they stand exulting on console, sill or mantelpiece
then fade
into a dry and brittle ghost.

Ragged ends of time
that no time will knit together.
Death is the only even skein:
Death that is both ghost and gain.
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