by Eavan Boland
This is the hour I love: the in-between
neither here-nor-there hour of the evening.
The air is tea-colored in the garden.
The briar rose is spilled crepe de Chine.
This is the time I do my work best,
going up the stairs in two minds,
in two worlds, carrying cloth or glass,
leaving something behind, bringing
something with me I should have left behind.
The hour of change, of metamorphosis,
of shape-shifting instabilities.
My time of sixth sense and second sight
when in the words I choose, the lines I write,
they rise like visions and appear to me:
women of work, of leisure, of the night,
in stove-colored silks, in lace, in nothing,
with crewel needles, with books, with wide-open legs,
who fled the hot breath of the god pursuing,
who ran from the split hoof and the thick lips
and fell and grieved and healed into myth,
into me in the evening at my desk
testing the water with a sweet quartet
the physical force of a dissonance—
the fission of music into syllabic heat—
and getting sick of it and standing up
and going downstairs in the last brightness
into a landscape without emphasis,
light, linear, precisely planned,
a hemisphere of tiered, aired cotton,
a hot terrain of linen from the iron,
folded in and over, stacked high,
neatened flat, stoving heat and white.