Whatever there was, or is, of love let it be obeyed:
—so that the grandfather mightn’t have been blinded,
the river never dwindled to what it is now,
nor the leaning big willows above it been blighted,
nor its trout been fished out;
nor, by the naked boys, the swimming hole been abandoned,
dissolved, abandoned, its terra cottas and gilt.
(—the boys who dove for white china doorknobs
stolen from the hens’ nests;)
Whatever there is, or was, of affection
may it be said.
The barn swallows belonged to
the barns, they went with the church’s wooden steeple.
& they flew as fast as they did because the air was so still—
That steeple—I can’t remember—was it struck by lightning?


‘We Went to the Dark Cave…’

We went to the dark cave of the street-corner
And the kiosk was bare.
A cold wind drove the people off the streets
Then blew their doors ajar.
But two white-faced angel-newsboys
With black mouths were there,
With their speckled wing-sheaves of newspapers,
And they prophesied “War! War!”
Then we noticed a bright light
At the end of the street where we stood,
And we saw that the street stretched to Africa
Where a round African sun burned red.
There in the hot sands of the Circus
Sad, sand-colored lions stood,
And in the middle of the Circus was
An ancient Roman fountain, filled with blood.

This Issue

March 23, 2006