“He was beginning to live in the region of truth.”
—Graham Greene, The Honorary Consul
Slowly the truth dawns, the nothing-butness of it,
The fly in the dram, the flea in your ear,
Just-cleaned window now smeared with dove-shit,
Confidence that turns into abject fear,
The niggle, the virtuous irritant,
A taste like garlic, chillies, or mint.
To have kissed the lips of one who was dying
Is to have tasted silence, salt, and wilderness,
And touched the truth, the desert where there is no lying,
Only that kiss and the keeping of its promise.
Who lives there, in that land of the utter truth?
Is it one of the delusions of youth,
Or the delusions of age and adulthood?
Well, I don’t know. Only the truth will do,
I suppose, not would, or should, or could,
But what was, and is. Is it the same for you?
As the witty French say, ‘reconstruct your virginity’,
In search of beginnings and tranquillity.