Fawns in the winter wood
Who feel their horns, and leap,
Swans whom the bleakening mood
These are the streets where we walked with war and childhood
Like our two shadows behind us, or
Before us like one shadow.
Content that now the bleeding bone be swept
Out of her reach, she lay upon her side.
In a blonde void sunk deep, she slept, she slept
If you press a stone with your finger,
Sir Isaac Newton observed,
The finger is also
What do we need for love—a midnight fire
Flinging itself by fistfuls up the chimney
In soft bright snatches? Do we need the snow,
And there was stormy silence in that city,
A silence of the unborn where it moved
In darkness, piteous, but without pity,
Heat urges secret odors from the grass.
Blunting the edge of silence, crickets shrill.
Wings veer: inane needles of light, and pass.
Sunrise tumbling in like a surf,
A foam of petals, curling thousands, lightly crumbling
Away into light.
Little finger of fiery green, it
flickers over stone. Waits
in a weed's shadow.
Into this net of leaves, green as old glass
That the sun fondles, trembling like images
Sky is such softness, is such dark,
Mt as the pelt of a black panther is
In his den's bight. Under the mat soft black
Beyond the window the moon may be in riot
With the winter night. But your voice having ceased
In the room here, silence comes, barefooted,
Her drooping wrist, her arm
Move as a swan should move,
First singing when death dawns
Staring in zoos at the dull-eyed and wild
Who never meet their gaze,
The child, the refugee, the idle sailor
Babette Deutsch (September 22, 1895 – November 13, 1982) was an American poet, critic, translator, and novelist. Born in New York City, the daughter of Michael and Melanie (Fisher) Deutsch, she matriculated from the Ethical Culture School and Barnard College, graduating in 1917 with a B.A. She published poems in magazines such as the North American Review and the New Republic while she was still a student at Barnard. In 1946, she received an honorary D. Litt. from Columbia University. On April 29, 1921, Deutsch married Avrahm Yarmolinsky, chief of the Slavonic Division of The New York Public Library (1918–1955), also a writer and translator. They had two sons, Adam Yarmolinsky and Michael. She translated Pushkin's Eugene Onegin into English and also made some of the best English versions of Boris Pasternak's poems.)
A MONSTER like a mountain, leathern limbed,
With eyes of sluggish ore and claws of stone,
He heaved his thunder-throated body, rimmed
By marsh fires human eyes have never known.
A monolith carved out of savage night,
He hid in his impenetrable hide
Muscle and blood, and nerves to sense delight
And agony that tore him when he died.
The clumsy terror of his frame has gone
The way of his blind, simple savagery.
Out of his casual bones men build the dawn
That bore and bred such brutish game as he.
But still endures his dull, confounding shape:
In wars of the wise offspring of the ape.
Music proposes. Sound disposes.
The poet ... like the lover ... is a person unable to reconcile what he knows with what he feels. His peculiarity is that he is under a certain compulsion to do so.
Poetry is important. No less than science, it seeks a hold upon reality, and the closeness of its approach is the test of its success.