Finally, we have said enough-
Time has come and told us:
I cut off your tongues.
This is the century you will die in, Time says...
Your endless, wheedling words will congeal around your mouths
like age-coloured blood;
even when you merely think of speaking
you will feel the sinews, the elastic threads
that meld with your own spit and image
pulling on the insubstantial joins of lip and lip.
Time says: This is the century you will die in.
Hurry. I cut off your tongues.
Hurry away from your home at midnight
dragging a long, bleached shroud, and never turn back to see
that inside homely light grieving and sulking;
climb to the top of the closest hill and run with your arms pinned out
until you are flying over the hot yellow lamps of the town below;
collapse under the open whistling sky with the morning licking your face
like thirsty translucent lizards;
in the morning, go down to the sea and purify yourself in
the calloused suck and assault of the whipping waves
with your hair full of crunch and thorn and twist;
cover your breakfast wine with bruised violets;
dunk your bread in levity;
change your middle name to that of an unclimbable mountain
and don't tell anyone,
plant enough speckled scarlet beans to last a year;
smoke a musky pipeful of willowbark, just once,
to know what sweetness is;
ponder on a bottle of virgin olive oil
with the last bittergreen rays of the sun spreading behind it;
be glad when you say I am
and learn to give away your last big tongue-twizzling penny.
When all these things are done-
be honest for once with your children;
turn three times and say:
Mourning Cloak Butterfly
and the first person you see will be
the one you knew was coming, all along.
You may now speak your middle name.
But remember...This is the century you will die in.
Kiss deep your new love, but beware...he may bite off your tongue.