Both lying on our sides, making love in
spoon position when she’s startled, What’s that?
She means the enormous ship passing before you—
maybe not that large, is it a freighter
or a passenger ship? But it seems huge in the dark
and it’s so close. That’s a poem you say, D. H.
Lawrence—Have you built your ship of death,
have you? O build your ship of death,
For you will need it. Right here it would be good
if there were a small orchestra on board, you’d hear
them and say to her, That piece is called Autumn
that’s what the brave musicians played as the Titanic
went under—and then you could name this poem “Autumn.”
But no, the ship is silent, its white lights glow in the darkness.
WHEN AUTUMN CAME
This is the way that autumn came to the trees:
it stripped them down to the skin,
left their ebony bodies naked.
It shook out their hearts, the yellow leaves,
scattered them over the ground.
Anyone could trample them out of shape
undisturbed by a single moan of protest.
The birds that herald dreams
were exiled from their song,
each voice torn out of its throat.
They dropped into the dust
even before the hunter strung his bow.
Oh, God of May have mercy.
Bless these withered bodies
with the passion of your resurrection;
make their dead veins flow with blood again.
Give some tree the gift of green again.
Let one bird sing.
Faiz Ahmed Faiz (1911 – 1984), Indian/Pakistani poet.