Paul Engle Poems

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Venus and the Lute Player

Far in the background a blue mountain waits
To echo back the song
The note-necked swan, while it reverberates,
Paddles the tune along.


I have heard the horn of Roland goldly screaming
In the petty Pyrenees of the inner ear
And seen the frightful Saracens of fear

Twenty Below

Twenty below, I said, and closed the door,
A drop of five degrees and going down.
It makes a tautened drum-hide of the floor,

For 1939

Now, in this time, I have seen the living face
Bleached of its blood, gray, and strange things done
In the name of mercy and the good of state.


Hair brown as a walnut hull,
And finally a will
Running through bone and marrow

Proem to American Song

BLOW, LONG TRADE WINDS of American speech,
Over this land where we can rise, unfurl
Our new and untried sails, and drive with you

Return in Autumn

THE LAND UNCHANGED, the cattle track,
Narrow for two split hooves to meet,
Winds to walnut grove and back

In a Bar Near Shibuya Station, Tokyo

The Japanese next to me at the bar
bites at his sake with big irregular teeth.
Behind the heavy glasses (which he wears


I am an American tourist in my room writing letters.
Outside the air of Calcutta trembles in the terrible heat.
Air conditioning gently wraps me in cool air.