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
into the blue light
of another heaven
water melts anew
on the blue horizon
of another day
for morning prayers
the pages turn
to the wind
where all the blind
begin to see
among the red and blue—
once more I'm
back together again
sometimes dead as sin—
reborn for another day
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.
Two swimmers wrestled on the spar
Two swimmers wrestled on the spar—
Until the morning sun—
When One—turned smiling to the land—
Oh God! the Other One!
The stray ships—passing—
Spied a face—
Upon the waters borne—
With eyes in death—still begging raised—
Translations Dante - Inferno, Canto XXVI
Florence, rejoice! For thou o'er land and sea
So spread'st thy pinions that the fame of thee
Hath reached no less into the depths of Hell.
So noble were the five I found to dwell
Therein -- thy sons -- whence shame accrues to me
And no great praise is thine; but if it be
That truth unveil in dreamings before dawn,
Then is the vengeful hour not far withdrawn
When Prato shall exult within her walls
To see thy suffering. Whate'er befalls,
Let it come soon, since come it must, for later,
A woman I have never seen before
Steps from the darkness of her town-house door
At just that crux of time when she is made
So beautiful that she or time must fade.
What use to claim that as she tugs her gloves
A phantom heraldry of all the loves
Blares from the lintel? That the staggered sun
Forgets, in his confusion, how to run?
Still, nothing changes as her perfect feet
Click down the walk that issues in the street,
Leaving the stations of her body there
Like whips that map the countries of the air.
You may give over plough, boys,
You may take the gear to the stead,
All the sweat o' your brow, boys,
Will never get beer and bread.
The seed's waste, I know, boys,
There's not a blade will grow, boys,
'Tis cropped out, I trow, boys,
And Tommy's dead.
The sun's gone dim, and
The moon's turned black;
For I loved him, and
He didn't love back.
Two Tramps in Mud Time
Out of the mud two strangers came
And caught me splitting wood in the yard,
And one of them put me off my aim
By hailing cheerily "Hit them hard!"
I knew pretty well why he had dropped behind
And let the other go on a way.
I knew pretty well what he had in mind:
He wanted to take my job for pay.
Not by the grief that stuns and overwhelms
All outward recognition of revealed
And righteous omnipresence are the days
Of most of us affrighted and diseased,
But rather by the common snarls of life
That come to test us and to strengthen us
In this the prentice-age of discontent,
Rebelliousness, faint-heartedness, and shame.