With Tenure

If Ezra Pound were alive today
(and he is)
he'd be teaching
at a small college in the Pacific Northwest
and attending the annual convention
of writing instructors in St. Louis
and railing against tenure,
saying tenure
is a ladder whose rungs slip out
from under the scholar as he climbs
upwards to empty heaven
by the angels abandoned
for tenure killeth the spirit
(with tenure no man becomes master)
Texts are unwritten with tenure,
under the microscope, sous rature


With Tears They Buried You Today

With tears they buried you to-day,
But well I knew no turf could hold
Your gladness long beneath the mould,
Or cramp your laughter in the clay;
I smiled while others wept for you
Because I knew.

And now you sit with me to-night
Here in our old, accustomed place;
Tender and mirthful is your face,
Your eyes with starry joy are bright­
Oh, you are merry as a song
For love is strong!

They think of you as lying there
Down in the churchyard grim and old;
They think of you as mute and cold,


With an Identity Disc

If ever I dreamed of my dead name
High in the heart of London, unsurpassed
By Time for ever, and the Fugitive, Fame,
There seeking a long sanctuary at last,

I better that; and recollect with shame
How once I longed to hide it from life's heats
Under those holy cypresses, the same
That shade always the quiet place of Keats,

Now rather thank I God there is no risk
Of gravers scoring it with florid screed,
But let my death be memoried on this disc.
Wear it, sweet friend. Inscribe no date nor deed.


Winter Sleep

I know it must be winter (though I sleep) --
I know it must be winter, for I dream
I dip my bare feet in the running stream,
And flowers are many, and the grass grows deep.

I know I must be old (how age deceives!)
I know I must be old, for, all unseen,
My heart grows young, as autumn fields grow green,
When late rains patter on the falling sheaves.

I know I must be tired (and tired souls err) --
I know I must be tired, for all my soul
To deeds of daring beats a glad, faint roll,


Winged Man

The moon, a sweeping scimitar, dipped in the stormy straits,
The dawn, a crimson cataract, burst through the eastern gates,
The cliffs were robed in scarlet, the sands were cinnabar,
Where first two men spread wings for flight and dared the hawk afar.

There stands the cunning workman, the crafty past all praise,
The man who chained the Minotaur, the man who built the Maze.
His young son is beside him and the boy's face is a light,
A light of dawn and wonder and of valor infinite.


Wine And Joy

Wine and joy are completely forgotten,
As well as his armor and sword.
Alone he descends in the rotten
Mysterious dungeon. The door
Is squeaking with long drawn sound
For no one has entered inside.
The dark and the damp reign around.
The window is narrow and high.

His eyes grow accustomed to the gloom and
Through the dust and the web he explores
Some strange marks, emerging and looming
On the floor, on the vaults, on the walls.
He gazes at the marks’ interlacement


Wind Is Song

Wind is song
Of whom and of what?
Of the sword's longing
To be the word.
People cherish the day of death
Like a favorite daisy.
Believe that the strings of the great
Are strummed by the East these days.
Perhaps we'll be given new pride
By the wizard of those shining mountains,
And I, of many souls captain,
Will wear a white snowcap of reason.


Wind Chill

The door of winter
is frozen shut,

and like the bodies
of long extinct animals, cars

lie abandoned wherever
the cold road has taken them.

How ceremonious snow is,
with what quiet severity

it turns even death to a formal
arrangement.

Alone at my window, I listen
to the wind,

to the small leaves clicking
in their coffins of ice.


Wind at Tindari

Tindari, I know you
mild between broad hills, overhanging the waters
of the god’s sweet islands.
Today, you confront me
and break into my heart.

I climb airy peaks, precipices,
following the wind in the pines,
and the crowd of them, lightly accompanying me,
fly off into the air,
wave of love and sound,
and you take me to you,
you from whom I wrongly drew
evil, and fear of silence, shadow,
- refuge of sweetness, once certain -
and death of spirit.

It is unknown to you, that country


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