A Hedge Of Rubber Trees

The West Village by then was changing; before long
the rundown brownstones at its farthest edge
would have slipped into trendier hands. She lived,
impervious to trends, behind a potted hedge of
rubber trees, with three cats, a canary—refuse
from whose cage kept sifting down and then
germinating, a yearning seedling choir, around
the saucers on the windowsill—and an inexorable
cohort of roaches she was too nearsighted to deal
with, though she knew they were there, and would
speak of them, ruefully, as of an affliction that


A Green Crab's Shell

Not, exactly, green:
closer to bronze
preserved in kind brine,

something retrieved
from a Greco-Roman wreck,
patinated and oddly

muscular. We cannot
know what his fantastic
legs were like--

though evidence
suggests eight
complexly folded

scuttling works
of armament, crowned
by the foreclaws'

gesture of menace
and power. A gull's
gobbled the center,

leaving this chamber
--size of a demitasse--
open to reveal


A Greek Girl

I may not weep, not weep, and he is dead.
A weary, weary weight of tears unshed
Through the long day in my sad heart I bear;
The horrid sun with all unpitying glare
Shines down into the dreary weaving-room,
Where clangs the ceaseless clatter of the loom,
And ceaselessly deft maiden-fingers weave
The fine-wrought web; and I from morn till eve
Work with the rest, and when folk speak to me
I smile hard smiles; while still continually
The silly stream of maiden speech flows on:--


A Gotham Garden of Verses

I

In summer when the days are hot
The subway is delayed a lot;
In winter, quite the selfsame thing;
In autumn also, and in spring.

And does it not seem strange to you
That transportation is askew
In this--I pray, restrain your mirth!--
In this, the Greatest Town on Earth?

II

All night long and every night
The neighbors dance for my delight;
I hear the people dance and sing
Like practically anything.

Women and men and girls and boys,


A Gardener-Sage

Here in the garden-bed,
Hoeing the celery,
Wonders the Lord has made
Pass ever before me.
I see the young birds build,
And swallows come and go,
And summer grow and gild,
And winter die in snow.

Many a thing I note,
And store it in my mind,
For all my ragged coat
That scarce will stop the wind.
I light my pipe and draw,
And, leaning on my spade,
I marvel with much awe
O'er all the Lord hath made.

Now, here's a curious thing:
Upon the first of March


A Code of Morals

Now Jones had left his new-wed bride to keep his house in order,
And hied away to the Hurrum Hills above the Afghan border,
To sit on a rock with a heliograph; but ere he left he taught
His wife the working of the Code that sets the miles at naught.

And Love had made him very sage, as Nature made her fair;
So Cupid and Apollo linked , per heliograph, the pair.
At dawn, across the Hurrum Hills, he flashed her counsel wise --
At e'en, the dying sunset bore her busband's homilies.


A Charm

Take of English earth as much
As either hand may rightly clutch.
In the taking of it breathe
Prayer for all who lie beneath.
Not the great nor well-bespoke,
But the mere uncounted folk
Of whose life and death is none
Report or lamentation.
Lay that earth upon thy heart,
And thy sickness shall depart!

It shall sweeten and make whole
Fevered breath and festered soul.
It shall mightily restrain
Over-busied hand and brain.
It shall ease thy mortal strife
'Gainst the immortal woe of life,


A Dream Of Whitman Paraphrased, Recognized And Made More Vivid By Renoir

Twenty-eight naked young women bathed by the shore
Or near the bank of a woodland lake
Twenty-eight girls and all of them comely
Worthy of Mack Sennett's camera and Florenz Ziegfield's
Foolish Follies.

They splashed and swam with the wondrous unconsciousness
Of their youth and beauty
In the full spontaneity and summer of the fieshes of
awareness
Heightened, intensified and softened
By the soft and the silk of the waters
Blooded made ready by the energy set afire by the
nakedness of the body,


A Dream of Bric-a-brac

C.K. loquitur.

I dreamed I was in fair Niphon.
Amid tea-fields I journeyed on,
Reclined in my jinrikishaw;
Across the rolling plains I saw
The lordly Fusi-yama rise,
His blue cone lost in bluer skies.

At last I bade my bearers stop
Before what seemed a china-shop.
I roused myself and entered in.
A fearful joy, like some sweet sin,
Pierced through my bosom as I gazed,
Entranced, transported, and amazed.
For all the house was but one room,
And in its clear and grateful gloom,


A Dilettante

Good friend, be patient: goes the world awry?
well, can you groove it straight with all your pains?
and, sigh or scold, and, argue or intreat,
what have you done but waste your part of life
on impotent fool's battles with the winds,
that will blow as they list in spite of you?

Fie, I am weary of your pettish griefs
against the world that's given, like a child
who whines and pules because his bread's not cake,
because the roses have those ugly thorns
that prick if he's not careful of his hands.


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