We stood on a quay talking of illness,
Of a friend’s discomfort, the long solo of our age
Now people have the luxury of slow death.
A wooden shack leaned on the sea wall
Like something one finds after walking
All night—the house in a Russian tale,
Its windows open to admit souls.
Anyone can talk of dying, the measure
Of tongue and footfall, of boats in darkness.
But groaning, incapable as men are
We talked in the rhythms
Of singers from Tallinn:
Men who stayed up all night,
Turning their sleighs into coffins.