The Blue Book


The jacarandas bloom and unblossom
and turning away, he stands there,
at the end of a storm –
transfigured, absorbed in wet purple,
as swallows swoop in the face
of grey distance, come to catch sunset
and the gathering swarm.

The birds, returned after a long journey,
seem at home in the fall of happy things.
Late spring and their soft calls
as if it were all the space between
that allows us to imagine none at all.

There, in the descent of one gentian word,
was a death and you walked straight into it,
though we are not permitted to linger,
even with what is most intimate,
though – gathered in the snap of release –
it can be more than whole,
more than itself:
the summer and the swallows
and the song of jacarandas.



Miriam Makeba

Purple rain