William Morris Meredith Jr. (January 9, 1919 – May 30, 2007 / New York City)
Harnessed and zipped on a bright
October day, having lied to his wife,
Hazard jumps, and the silk spanks
open, and he is falling safely.
This is what for two years now
he has been painting, in a child's palette
-not the plotted landscape that holds dim
below him, but the human figure dangling safe,
guyed to something silky, hanging here,
full of half-remembered instruction
but falling, and safe.
They must have caught and spanked him
like this when he first fell.
He passes it along now, Hazard's vision.
He is in charge of morale in a morbid time.
He calls out to the sky, his voice
the voice of an animal that makes not words
but a happy incorrigible noise, not
of this time. The colors of autumn
are becoming audible through the haze.
It does not matter that the great masters
could see this without flight, while
dull Hazard must be taken up again and dropped.
He sees it. Then he sees himself
as he would look from the canopy above him,
closing safely (if he can remember
what to do) on the Bruegel landscape.
Inside the bug-like goggles, his eyes water.
Comments about this poem (Hazard's Optimism by William Morris Meredith Jr. )
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