How I greet you, sarcophagi of stone, ancient,
For you have never forsaken my sense of you!
The joyous water of Roman times even still
Runs through you, travelling as a song.
Like the eye of a shepherd suddenly awakened
And cheerful, so, to the beyond, you too are open.
Now you are full of silence and archangel-nettles
From which the enraptured butterflies whirl forth;
I greet you all, wrested as you are from doubt,
Like mouths once again opened
And enabled to know what silence is.
Do we know it, friends, or do we not know it?
Both the knowledge and the doubt are fashioned
By the lingering hour into the human countenance.
© Robert Temple 2010. Website designed by Jonathan Greet