Michael Vince Poems

Twelve Poems of Michael Vince

photo of Michael Vince in Rome


 From Conversation with George Seferis

Since you died I have been living in your country

   the way all readers live in the shadow

of other voices, the way that walking the streets

in a foreign city can map out a language of acceptance,

until there is no place like home because it has vanished

   like an ancient voice. I pick over your books

and count off the landmarks when light on the sea begins

its deception. A whitewashed chapel, some burnt pines,

fade through the bushes. For home has its vanished author,

  landscapes which unroll themselves from someone

whose belief in a place has itself become misplaced,

as a poem leaves the page and goes off with its readers.

Returning to my country I feel your mountains

   should rise into sight, I pick out your language

from the chaos of sounds in Arrivals which merge into

Homer’s speech deflected by endless voyages.

A drunk on the Underground looks as tricky as Odysseus

   and boys my son’s age are sleeping in doorways.

Here the weather folds me stubbornly to my own language,

sounds of trees, faint light that won’t stay silent.