May 2011


 

In the foreground we see time and life
swept in a race
toward the left hand side of the picture
where shore meets shore.

But that meeting place
isn’t represented;
it doesn’t occur on the canvas.

For the other side of the bay
is Heaven and Eternity,
with a bleak white haze over its mountains.

And the immense water of L’Estaque is a go-between
for minute rowboats.

Amongst the flowers I
am alone with my pot of wine
drinking by myself; then lifting
my cup I asked the moon
to drink with me, its reflection
and mine in the wine cup, just
the three of us; then I sigh
for the moon cannot drink, (more…)

A notice to inform
the unlettered: This is Troy
And the dust whispering:
My kiss was the prize
for which the warriors contended.

We admire the view which
for ten years they ignored.
What runners they were,
round and round the arena
in their expensive armour

like that other runner
from Marathon, his time
unsurpassed until the arrival
of steroids. We cover the ground
faster, but what news do we bring?

In foreign lands all goes to a plan,
Words are weighed, steps measured.
But among Russians there is fiery life,
Our speech is thunder and sparks fly.

Gentlemen all
As the last crumbfall,
The set of glases,
The moist eye,
I rise to speak
Of things irrelevant:
The poem shut,
Uneasy fossil,
In the mind’s rock;
The growth of winter
In the thick wood
Of history; music
We might have heard
In the heart’s cloisters.
I speak of wounds
Not dealt us; blows
that left no bruises
On the white table
Cloth. Forgive me
The tongue’s failure,
In all leanness
Of time, to arrive
Nearer the bone.

We were riding through frozen fields in a wagon at dawn.
A red wing rose in the darkness.
And suddenly a hare ran across the road.
One of us pointed to it with his hand.
That was long ago. Today neither of them is alive,
Not the hare, nor the man who made the gesture.
O my love, where are they, where are they going
The flash of a hand, streak of movement, rustle of pebbles.
I ask not out of sorrow, but in wonder.

Wilno, 1936


We aged a hundred years and this descended
In just one hour, as at a stroke.
The summer had been brief and now was ended;
The body of the ploughed plains lay in smoke. (more…)

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