Study In Orange And White

I knew that James Whistler was part of the Paris scene,
but I was still surprised when I found the painting
of his mother at the Musée d'Orsay
among all the colored dots and mobile brushstrokes
of the French Impressionists.

And I was surprised to notice
after a few minutes of benign staring,
how that woman, stark in profile
and fixed forever in her chair,
began to resemble my own ancient mother
who was now fixed forever in the stars, the air, the earth.

You can understand why he titled the painting


Story of Mrs. W

My garden blossoms pink and white,
A place of decorous murmuring,
Where I am safe from August night
And cannot feel the knife of Spring.

And I may walk the pretty place
Before the curtsying hollyhocks
And laundered daisies, round of face-
Good little girls, in party frocks.

My trees are amiably arrayed
In pattern on the dappled sky,
And I may sit in filtered shade
And watch the tidy years go by.

And I may amble pleasantly
And hear my neighbors list their bones


Stanzas to Flora

LET OTHERS wreaths of ROSES twine
With scented leaves of EGLANTINE;
Enamell'd buds and gaudy flow'rs,
The pride of FLORA'S painted bow'rs;
Such common charms shall ne'er be wove
Around the brows of him I LOVE.

Fair are their beauties for a day,
But swiftly do they fade away;
Each PINK sends forth its choicest sweet
AURORA'S warm embrace to meet;
And each inconstant breeze, that blows,
Steals essence from the musky ROSE.

Then lead me, FLORA, to some vale,


Spats

When young I was a Socialist
Despite my tender years;
No blessed chance I ever missed
To slam the profiteers.
Yet though a fanatic I was,
And cursed aristocrats,
The Party chucked me out because
I sported Spats.

Aye, though on soap boxes I stood,
And spouted in the parks,
They grizzled that my foot-wear would
Be disavowed my Marx.
It's buttons of a pearly sheen
Bourgois they deemed and thus


Songs for a Colored Singer

I

A washing hangs upon the line,
but it's not mine.
None of the things that I can see
belong to me.
The neighbors got a radio with an aerial;
we got a little portable.
They got a lot of closet space;
we got a suitcase.

I say, "Le Roy, just how much are we owing?
Something I can't comprehend,
the more we got the more we spend...."
He only answers, "Let's get going."
Le Roy, you're earning too much money now.

I sit and look at our backyard
and find it very hard.


Something For The Touts, The Nuns, The Grocery Clerks, And You . .

we have everything and we have nothing
and some men do it in churches
and some men do it by tearing butterflies
in half
and some men do it in Palm Springs
laying it into butterblondes
with Cadillac souls
Cadillacs and butterflies
nothing and everything,
the face melting down to the last puff
in a cellar in Corpus Christi.
there's something for the touts, the nuns,
the grocery clerks and you . . .
something at 8 a.m., something in the library
something in the river,
everything and nothing.


Snow

The room was suddenly rich and the great bay-window was
Spawning snow and pink roses against it
Soundlessly collateral and incompatible:
World is suddener than we fancy it.

World is crazier and more of it than we think,
Incorrigibly plural. I peel and portion
A tangerine and spit the pips and feel
The drunkenness of things being various.

And the fire flames with a bubbling sound for world
Is more spiteful and gay than one supposes–
On the tongue on the eyes on the ears in the palms of your hands–


Smoking

I like the cool and heft of it, dull metal on the palm,
And the click, the hiss, the spark fuming into flame,
Boldface of fire, the rage and sway of it, raw blue at the base
And a slope of gold, a touch to the packed tobacco, the tip
Turned red as a warning light, blown brighter by the breath,
The pull and the pump of it, and the paper's white
Smoothed now to ash as the smoke draws back, drawn down
To the black crust of lungs, tar and poisons in the pink,
And the blood sorting it out, veins tight and the heart slow,


Slow Spring

O year, grow slowly. Exquisite, holy,
The days go on
With almonds showing the pink stars blowing
And birds in the dawn.

Grow slowly, year, like a child that is dear,
Or a lamb that is mild,
By little steps, and by little skips,
Like a lamb or a child.


Shiela

When I played my penny whistle on the braes above Lochgyle
The heather bloomed about us, and we heard the peewit call;
As you bent above your knitting something fey was in your smile,
And fine and soft and slow the rain made silver on your shawl.
Your cheeks were pink like painted cheeks, your eyes a pansy blue . . .
My heart was in my playing, but my music was for you.

And now I play he organ in this lordly London town;
I play the lovely organ with a thousand folks in view.
They're wearing silk and satin, but I see a woolen gown,


Pages

Subscribe to RSS - pink