The Song of the Borderguard
The man with his lion under the shed of wars
sheds his belief as if he shed tears.
The sound of words waits -
a barbarian host at the borderline of sense.
The enamord guards desert their posts
harkening to the lion-smell of a poem
that rings in their ears.
-Dreams, a certain guard said
were never designd so
to re-arrange an empire.
Along about six o'clock I take out my guitar
and sing to a lion
who sleeps like a line of poetry
in the shed of wars.
The man shedding his belief
knows that the lion is not asleep,
does not dream, is never asleep,
is a wide-awake poem
waiting like a lover for the disrobing of the guard;
the beautil boundaries of the empire
naked, rapt round in the smell of a lion.
(The barbarians have passt over the significant phrase)
-When I was asleep,
a certain guard says,
a man shed his clothes as if he shed tears
and appeard as a lonely lion
waiting for a song under the shed-roof of wars.
I sang the song that he waited to hear,
I, the Prize-Winner, the Poet Acclaimd.
Dear, Dear, Dear, Dear, I sang,
believe, believe, believe, believe.
The shed of wars is splendid as the sky,
houses our waiting like a pure song
housing in its words the lion-smell
of the beloved disrobed.
I sang: believe, believe, believe.
I the guard because of my guitar
belive. I am the certain guard,
certain of the Beloved, certain of the lion,
certain of the Empire. I with my guitar.
Dear, Dear, Dear, Dear, I sing.
I, the Prize-Winner, the Poet on Guard.
The borderlines of sense in the morning light
are naked as a line of poetry in a war.
Robert Duncan's Other Poems
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