STILL ON WATER

Solitude closes down around us
As we lie passive and exhausted
Solitude clamps us softly in its warm hand.

A turtle slips into the water
With a faint noise like a breaking bubble;
There is no other sound, only the dim
Momentous conversation of windless
Poplar and sycamore leaves and rarely,
A single, questioning frog voice.

I turn my eyes from your entranced face
And watch the oncoming sunset
Powder the immense, unblemished zenith
With almost imperceptible sparkles of gold.

Your eyes open, your head turns.
Your lips nibble at my shoulder.
I feel a languid shudder run over your body.

Suddenly you laugh, like a pure
Exulting flute, spring to your feet
And plunge into the water.

A white bird breaks from the rushes
And flies away, and the boat rocks
Drunkenly in the billows
of your nude jubilation.

  — Kenneth Rexroth (1905 – 1982), American Beat poet and translator