I fished it out of ill-assorted linguistic clutter
that came with this unsolicited country, with its cold sky,
with unwanted scenery, with a random splatter
of sooty rain in one’s coffee, and I tossed it into my
handbag, itself worse for wear, but of noble origins
(bought from a Moroccan othello in Venice or in Rome).
Now that word. It was Wordsworth’s or Coleridge’s,
not that it mattered. Finders keepers - I brought it home.
Washed it in soapy water and buffed it with metal
polisher and took it along on my trips.
Most words aren’t keys - just keyrings. Let them rattle
along with parking tickets, Rennies and paperclips.
But this one is a brain-teaser and a pain-easer,
a pewter pomander of balsamic light.
You wouldn’t use it with people, and me neither.
You’d save it for later, for a chilly night,
when you’d take it out, and fiddle with it, and heat it
on the burner of your memory until the genie is let
out on the loose and air is permeated
with Brownian motion of impersonal idle thought,
which is its own master, its own medium and vessel
and its own pilot. You cannot change the chords
of its indifferent harmony. Or wrestle
it into meaning. Or bully it into words.