Where Will I Find Words

Where will I find words to describe our stroll,
The Chablis on ice, the toasted bread
And the sweet agate of ripe cherries?
Sunset is far off, and the sea resounds with
The splash of bodies, hot and glad for cool dampness.

Your tender look is playful and alluring, -
Like comedy's pretty, pealing nonsense
Or the capricious pen of Marivaux.
Your Pierrot nose and intoxicating lips
Set my mind awhirl like "The Marriage of Figaro."

The spirit of trifles, charming and airy,
Love of nights luxuriant or stifling,


Wedding-Ring

My wedding-ring lies in a basket
as if at the bottom of a well.
Nothing will come to fish it back up
and onto my finger again.
       &nb sp;       &nbs p;    It lies
among keys to abandoned houses,
nails waiting to be needed and hammered
into some wall,
telephone numbers with no names attached,
idle paperclips.
       &nb sp;  It can't be given away
for fear of bringing ill-luck.
       &nb sp;  It can't be sold
for the marriage was good in its own


Towards The Imminent Days Section 4

In my aunt's house, the milk jug's beaded crochet cover
tickles the ear. We've eaten boiled things with butter.
Pie spiced like islands, dissolving in cream, is now
dissolving in us. We've reached the teapot of calm.
The table we sit at is fashioned of three immense
beech boards out of England. The minute widths of the year
have been refined in the wood by daughters' daughters.
In the year of Nelson, I notice, the winter was mild.

But our talk is cattle and cricket. My quiet uncle


To Minnie

The red room with the giant bed
Where none but elders laid their head;
The little room where you and I
Did for awhile together lie
And, simple, suitor, I your hand
In decent marriage did demand;
The great day nursery, best of all,
With pictures pasted on the wall
And leaves upon the blind--
A pleasant room wherein to wake
And hear the leafy garden shake
And rustle in the wind--
And pleasant there to lie in bed
And see the pictures overhead--
The wars about Sebastopol,


To Marry Or Not To Marry

A Girl’s Reverie

Mother says, ‘Be in no hurry,
Marriage oft means care and worry.’

Auntie says, with manner grave,
‘Wife is synonym for slave.’

Father asks, in tones commanding,
‘How does Bradstreet rate his standing? ’

Sister, crooning to her twins,
Sighs, ‘With marriage care begins.’

Grandma, near life’s closing days,
Murmurs, ‘Sweet are girlhood’s ways.’

Maud, twice widowed (‘sod and grass’)
Looks at me and moans ‘Alas! ’

They are six, and I am one,


To One Persuading A Lady To Marriage

Forbear, bold youth; all 's heaven here,
And what you do aver
To others courtship may appear,
'Tis sacrilege to her.
She is a public deity;
And were 't not very odd
She should dispose herself to be
A petty household god?

First make the sun in private shine
And bid the world adieu,
That so he may his beams confine
In compliment to you:
But if of that you do despair,
Think how you did amiss
To strive to fix her beams which are
More bright and large than his.


To My Brother Poet, Seeking Peace

People wish to be settled. Only as long as they are unsettled is there any hope for them.
-- Thoreau

My life has been
the instrument
for a mouth
I have never seen,
breathing wind
which comes
from I know not
where,
arranging and changing
my moods,
so as to make
an opening
for his voice.

Or hers.
Muse, White Goddess
mother with invisible
milk,
androgynous god
in whose grip
I struggle,
turning this way and that,


To Elsie

The pure products of America
go crazy--
mountain folk from Kentucky

or the ribbed north end of
Jersey
with its isolate lakes and

valleys, its deaf-mutes, thieves
old names
and promiscuity between

devil-may-care men who have taken
to railroading
out of sheer lust of adventure--

and young slatterns, bathed
in filth
from Monday to Saturday

to be tricked out that night
with gauds
from imaginations which have no

peasant traditions to give them


To a Lady Before Marriage

Oh! form'd by Nature, and refin'd by Art,
With charms to win, and sense to fix the heart!
By thousands sought, Clotilda, canst thou free
Thy croud of captives and descend to me?
Content in shades obscure to waste thy life,
A hidden beauty and a country wife.
O! listen while thy summers are my theme,
Ah! sooth thy partner in his waking dream!
In some small hamlet on the lonely plain,
Where Thames, through meadows, rolls his mazy train;
Or where high Windsor, thick with greens array'd,


The Habit of Perfection

Elected Silence, sing to me
And beat upon my whorlèd ear,
Pipe me to pastures still and be
The music that I care to hear.

Shape nothing, lips; be lovely-dumb:
It is the shut, the curfew sent
From there where all surrenders come
Which only makes you eloquent.

Be shellèd, eyes, with double dark
And find the uncreated light:
This ruck and reel which you remark
Coils, keeps, and teases simple sight.

Palate, the hutch of tasty lust,
Desire not to be rinsed with wine:


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