Harry Clifton

The Park - Poem by Harry Clifton

Because anyone sitting still attracts desire,
Even this will not be given you, the park
In June, the silence of a bench at eleven o'clock

On a Monday morning, or four on a Thursday afternoon.
Someone will drift toward you, unattached
And lonely. The spell will be broken, the wrong word said.

It is cool, but there is no death in the few token leaves
That must have come down last night, in the rain that freshened,
The tree-smell that remains. For this season there is no name,

Not summer, and none of the months of the year—
A something inside you. Search your mind
For the green arboriferous Word the boys and girls swing out of

Like a tree, and the lovers
On the grass in tantric mode, in an ecstasy
Of untouching, and the human buddhas, legs infolded, reading.

Branches, sheer translucent leaves—
You would die to get under them forever, if it were given you,
The park, on this, a day like any other day,

And not the knowledge of everyone ever met
Who will come upon you, sooner or later,
If only you stay here. No, not people, or the walkways

Made in another century, or the murmur of the great city
Everywhere in the distance, but this breathing-space
Where the void no longer terrible

But to be relaxed in, the depressions
Which anyway here are mild, incoming from the west,
Slow-acting, chronic, lifelong not acute

Are there to be sat through, waited out
On a damp bench, as a man sweeps up around you
And the sun comes out in real time, stealing over the ground.

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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, April 18, 2018

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