For years, I’d begged him for the smallest word.
Finally I cursed him with the worst I knew.
Silent skies. Maybe it was true,
and he never was? But then I heard
his breath behind my own; even in his sleep
he brooded on the form my hell might take.
So I forgave him. O that shook him awake —
he raged and howled ; then he began to weep.
One drop belled at the fracture in his side,
and then a stream, a flood, a tidal race —
all he was was one huge tear. In his place
there stood a human shape cut from the void,
an empty tearless glory. I walked in
and now I wear it like a second skin.
Copyright © 2015 by Don Paterson, 40 Sonnets, Faber & Faber