An Aubade


It is early morning.
The cocks have stopped crowing.
The villagers are waking from dreams
of religious exaltation and buggery.
In their heads while shaving
or stirring their coffee
they carefully lock up their schemes
for profit and cuckoldry.
At the approach of this band of light
men arise to cheat or murder.
O wondrous Light! O wondrous Sun!
It has brought back their colours
to cowsheds and gardenias
to chickens and village dogs
who begin to squawk and bark
at their strange appearance.
From faraway mournful fields
the asses are braying,
‘We want wimmin. We want wimmin.'
On the road the pellets of goatshit
look like stunted olives.
In other lands it is dark, dark.
North Ireland, Vietnam.
There light explodes like a bomb
or comes upon the night
like an assassin.
I sit on my bed and light a cigarette.
My girl is still sleeping.
When she awakes how will I
who read Husserl and Camus
tell her of my simple need of her
and that she must never leave me?


Irving Layton, A Wild Peculiar Joy: The Selected Poems, McClelland & Stewart, 2004.