The Collection of Frederic Marès

Is not catalogued or structured,
lanced through like exotic birds and butterflies.
All here can be touched: snuff boxes, skeleton keys,
glazed porcelain dolls, hands of playing cards
decrepit with dealing. Preceding Death,
nightmare figures of a burgeoning Tarot.

Who carved such centaurs dancing
behind sheer curtains of miniature playhouses?
Stringed-up minstrels with fire for hair
and dirty threads, drowsy in slow limelight.
Something in the eye crawls.
The stage skies are dawn or dusk.

They collected him, the cabinets of doll’s houses,
the paintings and sculptures outgrowing him.
Saint George's sword the dragon clutches about its heart.
Lazarus stumbling from rocks green and sick with life,
tongue a bloated stranger to all he has seen,
to the rooms of Marès yet to be found.