Delmore Schwartz

(8 December 1913 - 11 July 1966 / Brooklyn / New York / United States)

In The Slight Ripple, The Mind Perceives The Heart


In the slight ripple, the fishes dart
Like fingers, centrifugal, like wishes
Wanton. And pleasures rise
as the eyes fall
Through the lucid water. The small pebble,
The clear clay bottom, the white shell
Are apparent, though superficial.
Who would ask more of the August afternoon?
Who would dig mines and follow shadows?
"I would," answers bored Heart, "Lounger, rise"
(Underlip trembling, face white with stony anger),
"The old error, the thought of sitting still,
"The senses drinking, by the summer river,
"On the tended lawn, below the traffic,
"As if time would pause,
and afternoon stay.
"No, night comes soon,
"With its cold mountains, with desolation,
unless Love build its city."

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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