You notice, Lord, I am half pleased
pushing sixty to be so confused
and never know how to cushion the pain
of unlucky love, but it is again
because the case is mathematical,
God of games, like the Chinese puzzle
that used to tease me when I was
a child who could not do puzzles.
Till woeful with the sin of waste
which is the worst,
Creator of the only world,
I cut the knot with my sword,
the nervous solution for a stupid
problem that Alexander did
and still I don’t know any better
just to live on a little.
Maybe because of the rout we made,
or somebody tried to feed them bread,
the phoebes left our porch where
they laid their eggs year after year,
and when I saw that empty nest
it spoke for all the guilt and waste
and raging of my days that drove
away their sweet domestic love.
But Merciful! they have flown
no further than the attached barn
through the wide door always open
where now the two dart out and in
with bugs for their gaping brood
top of the birch post I made
to firm the loft and left a ledge
very apt to put a nest.
Just as it shouldn’t be
I have the hot ideas of youth
without the energy
and the responsibility
of age without the satisfactions.
My right of property is to exclude.
Oh, these nights I dream only the truth
—I fumble the ball—I lose my baggage—
Yet the objective view
from my long experience
is interesting too
though not comic or epic or tragic,
as I ride by Lake Winnipesaukee
on the public bus
going on a mission
about which I couldn’t care less.
It was because of my need, Lord,
that I myself deluded
that an unlikely thing could be
and stubbornly acted so, and I’m not sorry
just sad. I gave of myself
a lot and did not get enough,
too bad for me, but I did
not do him more harm than good.
Then O You dry fountain of actions and passions
abounding beyond the equations
of the conservation of energy,
therefore smile again at me
as distraught I go
among the flowers of the meadow
the innumerable daisies
and tangled vetch loud with bees.
The daisies we trod
were not lopped by the mower
and some have survived.
As it turns out, lad,
we should have been more careless.
Oh another time.
Modest the flowers
missed by the mower, and those
along the margin.
(Being a poet
I notice small; the…
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