…while reading, his eyes glanced over the pages … but his voice and tongue were silent.
(St. Augustine’s description of St. Ambrose reading)


I could have dozed on her sofa for hours
listening to the gathering and breaking
of the deep Atlantic edge beneath us,
the wind outside all haul and undertow
and everything around us rising.

I would have kept drifting there beside her
in the front room, but woke to the sound
of her reading to herself aloud,
her eyes weighted over the newspaper,
low and silted, ruminant mouthings,

and for a moment felt like a man stopping
quiet in a doorway to hear it,
ear to a ground-swell that grew more long-ago
the longer I watched her, strange and distant
like a sudden call heard far underground.