Montale - The Coast Watcher's House
You don't recall the coast watcher's house
on the cliff sheers above the reef
desolate and expecting you since that evening
when your thoughts swarmed in
and lingered there, so restless.
For years southerlies whipped the weary walls
the sound of your laughter no longer fresh
the compass totters wildly and reckonings
of the dice no longer add up. You don't recall
confused with other times, a thread winds on.
I still hold an end of it but the house recedes
and on the roof the smoke-black weathervane
turns crazily without pity.
I still hold an end of it but you remain alone
not here, not breathing in this dark.
And at the receding skyline, lights
of petrol tankers burn faintly.
Is this my way through? (Waves
still pound against the cliff that falls away ...)
You don't recall this place, my evening
and I don't know who goes or stays.
Eugenio Montale (translated by Jill Jones)