Visiting a Dead Man on a Summer Day

In flat America, in Chicago,
Graceland cemetery on the German North Side.
Forty feet of Corinthian candle
celebrate Pullman embedded
lonely raisin in a cake of concrete.
The Potter Palmers float
in an island parthenon.
Barons of hogfat, railroads and wheat
are postmarked with angels and lambs.

But the Getty tomb: white, snow patterned
in a triangle of trees swims dappled with leaf shadow,
sketched light arch within arch
delicate as fingernail moons.


Become a Patron!

Very Seldom

He's an old man. Used up and bent,
crippled by time and indulgence,
he slowly walks along the narrow street.
But when he goes inside his house to hide
the shambles of his old age, his mind turns
to the share in youth that still belongs to him.

His verse is now recited by young men.
His visions come before their lively eyes.
Their healthy sensual minds,
their shapely taut bodies
stir to his perception of the beautiful.


Become a Patron!

Venetian Epigrams I

Sarcophagi, urns, were all covered with lifelike scenes,
fauns dancing with girls from a Bacchanalian choir,
paired-off, goat-footed creatures puffing their cheeks,
forcing ear-splitting notes from the blaring horns.
Cymbals and drumbeats, the marble is seen and is heard.
How delightful the fruit in the beaks of fluttering birds!
No startling noise can scare them, or scare away love,
Amor, whose torch waves more gladly in this happy throng.
So fullness overcomes death, and the ashes within


Become a Patron!

Vehicles

This is a place on the way after the distances
can no longer be kept straight here in this dark corner
of the barn a mound of wheels has convened along
raveling courses to stop in a single moment
and lie down as still as the chariots of the Pharaohs
some in pairs that rolled as one over the same roads
to the end and never touched each other until they
arrived here some that broke by themselves and were left
until they could be repaired some that went only
to occasions before my time and some that have spun


Become a Patron!

Vashti

She leaned her head upon her hand
And heard the King's decree --
"My lords are feasting in my halls;
Bid Vashti come to me.

"I've shown the treasures of my house,
My costly jewels rare,
But with the glory of her eyes
No rubies can compare.

"Adorn'd and crown'd I'd have her come,
With all her queenly grace,
And, 'mid my lords and mighty men,
Unveil her lovely face.

"Each gem that sparkles in my crown,
Or glitters on my throne,
Grows poor and pale when she appears,


Become a Patron!

Variations On A Theme By William Carlos Williams

1
I chopped down the house that you had been saving to live in next summer.
I am sorry, but it was morning, and I had nothing to do
and its wooden beams were so inviting.

2
We laughed at the hollyhocks together
and then I sprayed them with lye.
Forgive me. I simply do not know what I am doing.

3
I gave away the money that you had been saving to live on for the
next ten years.
The man who asked for it was shabby


Become a Patron!

Variations of Greek Themes

I
A HAPPY MAN
(Carphyllides)

When these graven lines you see,
Traveler, do not pity me;
Though I be among the dead,
Let no mournful word be said.

Children that I leave behind,
And their children, all were kind;
Near to them and to my wife,
I was happy all my life.

My three sons I married right,
And their sons I rocked at night;
Death nor sorrow ever brought
Cause for one unhappy thought.

Now, and with no need of tears,


Become a Patron!

Vain Death

ALL the first night she might not weep
But watched till morning came,
And when she slept at dawn, she heard
The dead man call her name.

The second night she watched and wept
And called on death for grace,
And when she slept before the dawn
She saw the dead man’s face.

The third night through she laughed as one
That knows her way to bliss,
And in the instant ere she slept
She felt the dead man’s kiss.


Become a Patron!

Urbs Coronata

(Song for the City College of New York)

O youngest of the giant brood
Of cities far-renowned;
In wealth and power thou hast passed
Thy rivals at a bound;
And now thou art a queen, New York;
And how wilt thou be crowned?

"Weave me no palace-wreath of pride,"
The royal city said;
"Nor forge an iron fortress-wall
To frown upon my head;
But let me wear a diadem
Of Wisdom's towers instead."

And so upon her island height
She worked her will forsooth,
She set upon her rocky brow


Become a Patron!

Upon the Road to Rockabout

Upon the road to Rockabout
I came upon some sheep -
A large and woolly flock about
As wide as it was deep.

I was about to turn about
To ask the man to tell
Some things I wished to learn about
Both sheep and wool as well,

When I beheld a rouseabout
Who lay upon his back
Beside a little house about
A furlong from the track.

I had a lot to talk about,
And said to him "Good day."
But he got up to walk about,
And so I went away -


Become a Patron!

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - house