Nothing Song
After William IX, Duke of Aquitaine

I made this up from nothing.
It’s not myself I sing,
or love, or anything
     that has a source.
I dreamed these words while riding
     on my horse.

I’ve neither youth nor age.
Ambitions out of range,
I feel no joy or rage
     to see them go.
One midnight worked the change
     that made me so.

I wonder, do I wake
from dreams, or dream I wake?
Beneath a sheet, I shake
     and clutch my heart,         
though part of me—aloof, opaque—
     remains apart.

For such uncertainty
I’ve found no remedy
in psychotherapy
     or sedatives.
I rummage through debris
     where nothing lives.

A friend I’ve never met,
unknown to me as yet,
has kindled no regret
     or happiness,
no tender sobriquet
     to curse or bless.

As coldly radiant
as stars, and light-years distant,
this expectation can’t
     embrace a life,
but shines on, ignorant
     of lust and strife.

My song of nothing done,
I ride from Avignon
and leave my words to one
     who turns a key
to find the dead bolt drawn
     and stable empty.