effigy in a trance


The Witness
Edwin Morgan
No, there is no spirit standing in the sun,
only a great light and heat, that instantly
surround us when we meet.
The cold of solitude was
an effigy in a trance —
it was not death! my eyes were watching! my blood
was waiting to be moved by your hand.
We must believe it, though beyond
all gratitude when it comes —
to melt the bonds!
Half unbelieving I rose with you,
half uncaring I closed you
in my arms and left the trance.

There are effigies throughout the world! that I would touch!
that I would warm to life
out of the hell of stone
where they lie waiting,
broken in fields, staring,
frozen by the lathe,
carved in brickdust, in smoke,
in chains of ordinances,
and also in chains.
There is a witness! There is no god on the altiplano
where they scratch the earth,
but there is a witness, and time keeps it
like the first men’s fire.
The ordnance crash, and burning villages
feed pain with men, juntas
lay the cold table again with steel.
You can’t speak for others, there are no others.
You can only say there is that witness
standing where they fall, as it waits
in language, the promise like a prominence
that trembles on the crown of the sun —
only a million miles of fire,
and a signal to the eyes that are watching.

Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash

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