Shall this frail body be the bridge that bears

Such blind, embloodied weight that screaming tears

At the mothering world, lost from the mothering womb

That gentle dark, that loving nothingness?

My century grows longer day by day

Lie-rotted now, ghost-trampled

Fear-drummed, by love be-bugled

And the pale snows smile deepening that lie

Where black rock ridges stare at a swirling sky.

For all of that, I still am not grown wise

My century's wit has been compressed to this:

Who would be born must build himself a bridge

Center to center, where darkness presses in

On seven gray horrors, unseen whisperers

Of frozen paranoid prayers in an echoless void.

Who would be born must set his foot at last

On the first step of twice-ten thousand miles

Nor shrink from the chasmed path, nor ever look back

At the salt pillars melting in the rain.

Who would be born must trust the bridge untried

Fling piteous wagers in that mad gambling

Nor ever ask, will this frail bridge suffice?

Will this frail body then suffice? I hear

The lost wind whimper in the creaking cold

And the raw blood cries, "If we fail, we fail!"

There is no other answer.

And all the while

How midwifely your touch descends to mine.

Next: I would disclose myself to you