To an Ungentle Critic

The great sun sinks behind the town
Through a red mist of Volnay wine....
But what’s the use of setting down
That glorious blaze behind the town?
You’ll only skip the page, you’ll look
For newer pictures in this book;
You’ve read of sunsets rich as mine.

A fresh wind fills the evening air
With horrid crying of night birds....
But what reads new or curious there
When cold winds fly across the air?
You’ll only frown; you’ll turn the page,
But find no glimpse of your “New Age


To a Friend Concerning Several Ladies

You know there is not much
that I desire, a few chrysanthemums
half lying on the grass, yellow
and brown and white, the
talk of a few people, the trees,
an expanse of dried leaves perhaps
with ditches among them.

But there comes
between me and these things
a letter
or even a look--well placed,
you understand,
so that I am confused, twisted
four ways and--left flat,
unable to lift the food to
my own mouth:
Here is what they say: Come!
and come! and come! And if


This is a Wonderful Poem

Come at it carefully, don't trust it, that isn't its right name,
It's wearing stolen rags, it's never been washed, its breath
Would look moss-green if it were really breathing,
It won't get out of the way, it stares at you
Out of eyes burnt gray as the sidewalk,
Its skin is overcast with colorless dirt,
It has no distinguishing marks, no I.D. cards,
It wants something of yours but hasn't decided
Whether to ask for it or just take it,
There are no policemen, no friendly neighbors,


This Is A Poem I Wrote At Night, Before The Dawn

This is a poem I wrote before I died and was reborn:
- After the years of the apples ripening and the eagles
soaring,
After the festival here the small flowers gleamed like the
first stars,
And the horses cantered and romped away like the
experience of skill; mastered and serene
Power, grasped and governed by reins, lightly held by
knowing hands.

The horses had cantered away, far enough away
So that I saw the horses' heads farther and farther away


They've Come

Today my mother and sisters
came to see me.

I had been alone a long time
with my poems, my pride . . . almost nothing.

My sister---the oldest---is grown up,
is blondish. An elemental dream
goes through her eyes: I told the youngest
"Life is sweet. Everything bad comes to an end."

My mother smiled as those who understand souls
tend to do;
She placed two hands on my shoulders.
She's staring at me . . .
and tears spring from my eyes.

We ate together in the warmest room


Thesaurus

It could be the name of a prehistoric beast
that roamed the Paleozoic earth, rising up
on its hind legs to show off its large vocabulary,
or some lover in a myth who is metamorphosed into a book.

It means treasury, but it is just a place
where words congregate with their relatives,
a big park where hundreds of family reunions
are always being held,
house, home, abode, dwelling, lodgings, and digs,
all sharing the same picnic basket and thermos;
hairy, hirsute, woolly, furry, fleecy, and shaggy


The Walking Man Of Rodin

Legs hold a torso away from the earth.
And a regular high poem of legs is here.
Powers of bone and cord raise a belly and lungs
Out of ooze and over the loam where eyes look and ears hear
And arms have a chance to hammer and shoot and run motors.
You make us
Proud of our legs, old man.

And you left off the head here,
The skull found always crumbling neighbor of the ankles.


The War Of Caros

Caros is probably the noted usurper Carausius, by birth a Menapran, who assumed the purple in the year 284; and, seizing on Britain, defeated the emperor Maximinian Herculius in several naval engagements, which gives propriety to his being called in this poem "the king of ships." He repaired Agricola's wall, in order to obstruct the incursions of the Caledonians, and when he was employed in that work, it appears he was attacked by a party under the command of Oscar the son of' Ossian. This battle is the foundation of the present poem, which is addressed to Malvina, the daughter of Toscar.


The Unexpressed

How dare one say it?
After the cycles, poems, singers, plays,
Vaunted Ionia's, India's -Homer, Shakespeare -the long, long times, thick
dotted roads, areas,
The shining clusters and the Milky Ways of stars -Nature's pulses reaped,
All retrospective passions, heroes, war, love, adoration,
All ages' plummets dropped to their utmost depths,
All human lives, throats, wishes, brains -all experiences' utterance;
After the countless songs, or long or short, all tongues, all lands,


The Unattained

A vision beauteous as the morn,
With heavenly eyes and tresses streaming,
Slow glided o'er a field late shorn
Where walked a poet idly dreaming.
He saw her, and joy lit his face.
"Oh, vanish not at human speaking,"
He cried, "thou form of magic grace,
Thou art the poem I am seeking.

"I've sought thee long! I claim thee now---
My thought embodied, living, real."
She shook the tresses from her brow.
"Nay, nay!" she said, "I am ideal.
I am the phantom of desire---


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