The Poetry of
Jack Scott

To Wake Before, Beside You

To wake before, beside you in the early hours
between the first song of our morning bird
and the sounding of the alarm
when the bed-comfortable
goes burrowing for deeper covers
in the first sunshine of the day.

To lie beside you
in that warm moment and be quietly alive
as my fingertips feel the pulse of you beside me,
the life within you,
that makes your breasts that perfect skin
secure beside me here.
My fingers know this
as they touch one and then the other,
in the perfect beauty of soft repose.

To sit beside you gazing silently down upon you,
gently pulling down your sheet,
leaving it lie in wrinkles below your feet.
My eyes water at the sight of you, revealed,
in your smooth and peaceful slumber.

Your hair is perfectly expressed around that crevice
which has given us so much pleasure
as we have slid upon each other,
upon our lubricant, the sweat of love
and of love’s passion expressed
head to toe with quivers in between.

I see all that exposed in my touch
which causes pleasant shivers
upon that which now I feast my eyes
and thoughts upon, that skin,
that perfect means to illustrate
what words cannot describe:
just being .

I do not wake you in this precious hour.
Kissing you goodbye when I am off to work
will do that, for you have your day, too.
I hoard this hour against my day,
against hours of separation
knowing that in each
there is more than I care to dread of finality.
In the goodbye kiss for this one day
there looms the last goodbye
and the end of kisses
which makes this morning precious.

And so I rest my soul,
stretch it out full length and soothe it
upon the curve of your resting body,
postponing parting, fondling it as softly
as those tiny licks of morning air
that your skin responds to
with the softest of cat whimpers.

I am in a crevice of time,
passed by willingly,
until I gather from your slumbering form
the quiet courage
to know again that what is, is.
As your body is, so are the rest of things
and then I realize
how much of what is good and peaceful
lies within what your resting body is.

My time is almost up within our sanctuary
that small drift,
that serene eddy off the main current
where floating things hardly seem to move.

I have never seen such beauty.
How pale, now, must the rest of time become
beyond this time of preparation for leaving
and how necessary
as I sit beside you staring in mute wonder,
in such tenderness upon you.

Last night in our comingling we were both apart
except for that part of body and of mind,
which we could extend into the each of other.
It is madness to succumb
to the impossible beauty of that dream.
Perfection maims us in our groping for it
in ourselves and in each other,
but to come upon it gradually
out of sleep and its dreams,
just before the day,
to come upon perfection in this moment,
in this crevice with you
sustains the need to live
until we can come upon it again.

The soft perfection of yourself
expressed in your body
will change with the ringing
in the next moment of day’s alarm
and so I bend upon you
marveling as I draw nearer to your splendid lips
and freckled cheeks and nose
at what I must now turn away from to live this day
as winter makes an end to Indian Summer.

I kiss you now good morning to let you know I see you,
to ease you into day.
I kiss your lips, each breast.
I kiss those other lips, your breast-soft belly.
I will go on kissing you till you awake.
I am your softer alarm.

Your eyes flutter; the lids are freckled, too.
Your lips reach for lips that are on your breast.
You stab a look at day and stretch and smile.
You blink and smile again.
Our lips meet and you awake.
Your doubts creep out of their dusky places;
confusion oozes from its special pores.
In the next instant we stumble with the words
that start to come,
then you close your eyes and stretch again
and dive back into that special pool of sleepiness
whence come those special smiles
that ripple once more to me like marvelous fish
that turn to air when caught.

I dress now, slowly,
for I am still a willing, loving captive
of your naked loveliness,
weakened for the anticlimax of the day
yet willing to make the most of its hours
so that I do not torture myself with the counting of them
until time cradles us once more
and lets me free my love unambiguously,
to caress you, love, with my loving eyes.

I reset the harsher alarm
and go downstairs into the kitchen
leaving you behind deciding, as I did before,
not whether, but just when to make an entrance
into a world not nearly as tender as my eyes on you.
I make coffee, eat toast, gather my paperwork,
still lingering in love and thought
over the wisp of you I still carry behind my eyes,
not yet ready to make the jump
of saying goodbye for the day
and carrying it through, finally, too soon.
It is time!

I tread upward upon the stairs
and come upon you at the crest.
You are awake,
seeing me through the last of sleep.
I reach out and touch you.
You respond, but are confused.
Many things now play upon your surface.

My love takes on a twinge of anguish
as I respond to your response
by lingering on our goodbye kiss too long.
We release each other to the day ahead.
There is love there but,
there is no one to interpret it for each of us.

We stand more separate than we lay,
the strangers in each of us
restraining us for the day.

I love you: I say.
You repeat your love for me.
Another briefer, cluttered kiss
and I turn
descending this final time into the day.

Our mourning bird gives a final cry
and then,
in the far distance behind me,
the other alarm goes off.

L31 ®Copyright 1966 Jack Scott. All rights reserved.