In memory of Karl Miller (1931–2014)

The trees are waving their arms around
Like some ridiculous performance of modern dance.
They look like ludicrous John Hollander raving about the excellence
Of late Auden. Stop this nonsense! You’re not dancers!
At Ninety-second and Broadway, I’m afraid that’s
What it looks like they think they are.

We had droll things to say about everything we liked or didn’t.
And weren’t we clever and didn’t we have fun!
We said everything we had to say
Until the plane ran out of runway,
Took off while it was landing—and you were gone.
Such suffering and sickness and sweet good times!

I see a rainbow above a lawn being watered,
Dragonfly iridescence, hissing sprayer-mist, quiet—
And hear the deafening roar of Niagara Falls—
And smell the dainty rain about to fall.
The shower head is the entire sky!
Jihadi extremists

Will want to behead the shower head
For showering us with delights and letting us do our work.
The plane is about to take off
And at the same time is about to land. Bring back those days
When I complained that your smart-set English (Scottish) thing
Was to mock a friend the minute he left the room!

You’ve left the room. I will not see my darling dear again,
Which is what I’ll call this poem,
Written to remember Karl Miller who has died in London.
I shall not look upon his like again.
I send this teeny, tiny rescue flare into the universe
As things on planet Earth get worse.