Listen to Gieseking playing a Berceuse
of Chopin—the mothwing flutter
light as ash, perishable as burnt paper—

and sleep, now the furnaces of Auschwitz
are all out, and tourists go there.
The purest art has slept with turpitude,

we all pay taxes. Sleep. The day of waking
waits, cloned from the phoenix—
a thousand replicas in upright silos,

nurseries of the ultimate enterprise.
Decay will undo what it can, the rotten
fabric of our repose connives with doomsday.

Sleep on, scathed felicity. Sleep, rare
and perishable culprit. Imagining’s no shutter
against the incorrigible absolute sunrise.

This Issue

January 20, 1983