i like to dress for an imaginary girl
(we will meet each other soon) by putting on
a silk tie with subtle Chinese birds
she may be picturing me in her mirror
as she applies exactly the necessary line
of mascara to lengthen her lashes and darken
whatever begins as a mystery ends as a
blind, the nuances so well known
that birds chirp violently at their mirror images
but the pools
as they are revealed in the sunlight of
every accidental nod of the eyes remain
calm as a mirror in which there is no
In a strange town in a far land
They met amid a throng;
They stared, they could not understand
How life was sudden song.
As brown eyes looked in eyes of grey
Just for a moment's space,
Twin spirits met with sweet dismay
In that strange place.
And then the mob that swept them near
Reft them away again;
Two hearts in all the world most dear
Knew puzzlement and pain.
They barely brushed in passing by,
A wildered girl and boy,
There was a man, it was said one time,
Who went astray in his youthful prime.
Can the brain keep cool and the heart keep quiet
When the blood is a river that’s running riot?
And boys will be boys the old folks say,
And the man is better who’s had his day.
The sinner reformed; and the preacher told
Of the prodigal son who came back to the fold.
And Christian people threw open the door,
With a warmer welcome than ever before.
Wealth and honour were his to command,
And a spotless woman gave him her hand.
Portion of this yew
Is a man my grandsire knew,
Bosomed here at its foot:
This branch may be his wife,
A ruddy human life
Now turned to a green shoot.
These grasses must be made
Of her who often prayed,
Last century, for repose;
And the fair girl long ago
Whom I often tried to know
May be entering this rose.
So, they are not underground,
But as nerves and veins abound
In the growths of upper air,
And they feel the sun and rain,
And the energy again
Visits of condolence is all we get from them.
They squat at the Holocaust Memorial,
They put on grave faces at the Wailing Wall
And they laugh behind heavy curtains
In their hotels.
They have their pictures taken
Together with our famous dead
At Rachel's Tomb and Herzl's Tomb
And on Ammunition Hill.
They weep over our sweet boys
And lust after our tough girls
And hang up their underwear
To dry quickly
In cool, blue bathrooms.
Vainly wouldst thou, to gain a heart,
Heap up a maiden's lap with gold;
The joys of love thou must impart,
Wouldst thou e'er see those joys unfold.
The voices of the throng gold buys,
No single heart 'twill win for thee;
Wouldst thou a maiden make thy prize,
Thyself alone the bribe must be.
If by no sacred tie thou'rt bound,
Oh youth, thou must thyself restrain!
Well may true liberty be found,
Tho' man may seem to wear a chain.
Let one alone inflame thee e'er,
I have studied the Science of departures,
in night’s sorrows, when a woman’s hair falls down.
The oxen chew, there’s the waiting, pure,
in the last hours of vigil in the town,
and I reverence night’s ritual cock-crowing,
when reddened eyes lift sorrow’s load and choose
to stare at distance, and a woman’s crying
is mingled with the singing of the Muse.
Who knows, when the word ‘departure’ is spoken
what kind of separation is at hand,
or of what that cock-crow is a token,
Trial by Jury
THE LEARNED JUDGE
COUNSEL FOR THE PLAINTIFF
FOREMAN OF THE JURY
SCENE - A Court of Justice, Barristers, Attorney, and Jurymen
Hark, the hour of ten is sounding:
Hearts with anxious fears are bounding,
Hall of Justice, crowds surrounding,
Breathing hope and fear--
Parent of golden dreams, Romance!
Auspicious Queen of childish joys,
Who lead'st along, in airy dance,
Thy votive train of girls and boys;
At length, in spells no longer bound,
I break the fetters of my youth;
No more I tread thy mystic round,
But leave thy realms for those of Truth.
And yet 'tis hard to quit the dreams
Which haunt the unsuspicious soul,
Where every nymph a goddess seems,
Whose eyes through rays immortal roll;
While Fancy holds her boundless reign,
Her baby was so full of glee,
And through the day
It laughed and babbled on her knee
In happy play.
It pulled her hair all out of curl
With noisy joy;
So peppy she was glad her girl
Was not a boy.
Then as she longed for it to sleep,
To her surprise
It just relaxed within her keep
With closing eyes.
And as it lay upon her breast
So still its breath,
So exquisite its utter rest
It looked like death.