“Western wind, when will thou blow
The small rain down can rain?
Christ! If my love were in my arms,
And I in my bed again.”
Beyond the lamp-lit room is a plangent rain
—rescuing trees from their near-drought dyings
and I ponder the thousands of nights
—of our separate sibilant lyings.
The western wind that now does blow
—that down this rain may rain
blows not for us – or too much so
—shuttling shuttered pain.
Through colorful rooms we pass and greet
—snug from the night’s down-pouring
twined in un-twinned dreams
—anchored in our unmoorings.
The thirsty grass and withered stalks
—exalt the liquid ambrosia
while in dry and sighing rooms
—we unmake our beds of roses.
Yet the steady mizzle is a stalwart hand
—its rhythm a reminder
of the numbered thrum of dusks and dawns
—which each of us is tendered
and, easing a bit speaks in treacle tones
—as fissures mind their mending —
of hopes like rivers, and down river beds,
—of the ends of beginnings of endings.
“Ambrosia” is about a troubled marriage, and one of very few poems in which I
use rhyme. Each room in the house is a different color, and in the poem is meant
to contrast with the grey/black state of the marriage. There is a parallel
(unspoken) between the drought in the marriage and living in a chronically
drought-ridden geographical setting in which it rains (very rarely) July to
September, but that’s all. The turn, of course, begins with the word “Yet,” in
which the poet reminds herself that life is short, and that perhaps there is
hope, that every ending may (or may not) imply a beginning.