Goldfish

(Essence of Summer Magazines)

I

Always the August evenings come
With preparation for the waltz
The hot verandah making room
For all the reminiscent tunes
— The Merry Widow and the rest —

That call, recall
So many nights and afternoons —
August, with all its faults!

And the waltzes turn, return;
The Chocolate Soldier assaults
The tired Sphinx of the physical.
What answer? We cannot discern.

And the waltzes turn, return,
Float and fall,
Like the cigarettes
Of our marionettes
Inconsequent, intolerable.

II

Embarquement pour Cythere

Ladies, the moon is on its way!
Is everybody here?
And the sandwiches and ginger beer?
If so, let us embark —
The night is anything but dark,
Almost as clear as day.

It's utterly illogical
Our making such a start, indeed
And thinking that we must return.

Oh no! why should we not proceed
(As long as a cigarette will burn
When you light it at the evening star)
To porcelain land, what avatar
Where blue-delft-romance is the law

Philosophy through a paper straw!

III

On every sultry afternoon
Verandah customs have the call
White flannel ceremonial
With cakes and tea
And guesses at eternal truths
Sounding the depths with a silver spoon
And dusty roses, crickets, sunlight on the sea
And all.

And should you ever hesitate
Among such charming scenes —
Essence of summer magazines —
Hesitate, and estimate
How much is simple accident
How much one knows
How much one means
Well! among many apophthegms
Here's one that goes —
Play to your conscience, through the maze
Of means and ways
And wear the crown of your ideal
Bays
And rose.
IV

Among the debris of the year
Of which the autumn takes its toll: —
Old letters, programmes, unpaid bills
Photographs, tennis shoes, and more,
Ties, postal cards, the mass that fills
The limbo of a bureau drawer —
Of which October takes its toll
Among the debris of the year.
I find this headed " Barcarolle " .

" Along the wet paths of the sea
A crowd of barking waves pursue
Bearing what consequence to you
And me.
The neuropathic winds renew
Like marionettes who leave their graves
Walking the waves
Bringing the news from either Pole
Or knowledge of the fourth dimension:
" We beg to call to your attention
" Some minor problems of the soul. "

— Your seamanship is very neat
You scan the clouds, as if you knew,
Your language nautical, complete;
There's nothing left for me to do.
And while you give the wheel a twist
I gladly leave the rest to fate
And contemplate
The aged sybil in your eyes
At the four crossroads of the world
Whose oracle replies: —
" These problems seem importunate
But after all do not exist. "
Between the theoretic seas
And your assuring certainties
I have my fears:
— I am off for some Hesperides
Of street pianos and small beers!
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