Saturday I ran to Mytilene.
Bushes and grass along the glass-still way
Were all dabbled with rain
And the road reeled with shattered skies.
Towards noon an inky, petulant wind
Ravelled the pools, and rinsed the black grass round them.
Gulls were up in the late afternoon
And the air gleamed and billowed
And broadcast flung astringent spray
I saw the hills lie brown and vast and passive.
The men of Mytilene waited restive
Until the yellow melt of sun.
I shouted out my news as I sped towards them
That all, rejoicing, could go down to dark.
All nests, with all moist downy young
Blinking and gulping daylight; and all lambs
Four-braced in straw, shivering and mild;
And the first blood-root up from the ravaged beaches
Of the old equinox; and frangible robins’ blue
Teethed right around to sun:
These first we loudly hymned;
The hour of genesis
When the first moody firmament
Swam out of Arctic chaos,
Orbed solidly as the huge frame for this
Cramped little swaddled creature’s coming forth
To slowly, foolishly, marvellously
Discover a unique estate, held wrapt
Away from all men else, which to embrace
Our world would have to stretch and swell with strangeness.
This made us smile, and laugh at last. There was
Rejoicing all night long in Mytilene.
~ Margaret Avison