The Gift

To pull the metal splinter from my palm
my father recited a story in a low voice.
I watched his lovely face and not the blade.
Before the story ended, he'd removed
the iron sliver I thought I'd die from.

I can't remember the tale,
but hear his voice still, a well
of dark water, a prayer.
And I recall his hands,

Kaddish, Part I

Strange now to think of you, gone without corsets & eyes, while I walk on
the sunny pavement of Greenwich Village.
downtown Manhattan, clear winter noon, and I've been up all night, talking,
talking, reading the Kaddish aloud, listening to Ray Charles blues
shout blind on the phonograph
the rhythm the rhythm--and your memory in my head three years after--
And read Adonais' last triumphant stanzas aloud--wept, realizing
how we suffer--
And how Death is that remedy all singers dream of, sing, remember,

As I Sat Alone By Blue Ontario's Shores

AS I sat alone, by blue Ontario's shore,
As I mused of these mighty days, and of peace return'd, and the dead
that return no more,
A Phantom, gigantic, superb, with stern visage, accosted me;
Chant me the poem, it said, that comes from the soul of America-
chant me the carol of victory;
And strike up the marches of Libertad- marches more powerful yet;
And sing me before you go, the song of the throes of Democracy.

(Democracy- the destin'd conqueror- yet treacherous lip-smiles

Apparently With No Surprise

Apparently with no surprise,
To any happy flower,
The frost beheads it at its play,
In accidental power.
The blond assassin passes on.
The sun proceeds unmoved,
To measure off another day,
For an approving God.

Drunken Morning

Oh, my Beautiful! Oh, my Good!
Hideous fanfare where yet I do not stumble!
Oh, rack of enchantments!
For the first time, hurrah for the unheard-of work,
For the marvelous body! For the first time!
It began with the laughter of children, and there it will end.
This poison will stay in our veins even when, as the fanfares depart,
We return to our former disharmony.
Oh, now, we who are so worthy of these tortures!
Let us re-create ourselves after that superhuman promise

Isolation And Dark

I prefer isolation and dark,
No disturbance from dog’s bark,
Easy escape from assassin’s mark,
No problem for vehicle’s park,
No closing of eyes when ignite the spark,

Darkness where no one can infiltrate,
Not an insect or sound penetrate,
Darkness where I can see only light,
Togetherness with conscious and soul right,

Blood And The Moon

BLESSED be this place,
More blessed still this tower;
A bloody, arrogant power
Rose out of the race
Uttering, mastering it,
Rose like these walls from these
Storm-beaten cottages --
In mockery I have set
A powerful emblem up,
And sing it rhyme upon rhyme

Cool Tombs

When Abraham Lincoln was shoveled into the tombs he forgot
the copperheads and the assassin . . . in the dust, in the
cool tombs.

And Ulysses Grant lost all thought of con men and Wall Street,
cash and collateral turned ashes . . . in the dust, in the
cool tombs.

Pocahontas' body, lovely as a poplar, sweet as a red haw in
November or a pawpaw in May, did she wonder? does she

An Island

(SAINT HELENA, 1821)


Take it away, and swallow it yourself.
Ha! Look you, there’s a rat.
Last night there were a dozen on that shelf,
And two of them were living in my hat.
Look! Now he goes, but he’ll come back—
Ha? But he will, I say …
Il reviendra-z-à Pâques,

A Youth In Apparel That Glittered

A youth in apparel that glittered
Went to walk in a grim forest.
There he met an assassin
Attired all in garb of old days;
He, scowling through the thickets,
And dagger poised quivering,
Rushed upon the youth.
"Sir," said this latter,
"I am enchanted, believe me,
To die, thus,

A Man Feared That He Might Find An Assassin;

A man feared that he might find an assassin;
Another that he might find a victim.
One was more wise than the other.

Paradise Lost: Book 11

Undoubtedly he will relent, and turn
From his displeasure; in whose look serene,
When angry most he seemed and most severe,
What else but favour, grace, and mercy, shone?
So spake our father penitent; nor Eve
Felt less remorse: they, forthwith to the place
Repairing where he judged them, prostrate fell
Before him reverent; and both confessed
Humbly their faults, and pardon begged; with tears
Watering the ground, and with their sighs the air

Hymn To Death

Oh! could I hope the wise and pure in heart
Might hear my song without a frown, nor deem
My voice unworthy of the theme it tries,--
I would take up the hymn to Death, and say
To the grim power, The world hath slandered thee
And mocked thee. On thy dim and shadowy brow
They place an iron crown, and call thee king
Of terrors, and the spoiler of the world,
Deadly assassin, that strik'st down the fair,
The loved, the good--that breath'st upon the lights

Childe Harold's Pilgrimage: A Romaunt. Canto I.

To Ianthe:

Not in those climes where I have late been straying,
Though Beauty long hath there been matchless deem'd;
Not in those visions to the heart displaying
Forms which it sighs but to have only dream'd,
Hath aught like thee in truth or fancy seem'd:
Nor, having seen thee, shall I vainly seek
To paint those charms which varied as they beam'd --
To such as see thee not my words were weak;

Paradise Lost: Book X

Thus they in lowliest plight repentant stood
Praying, for from the Mercie-seat above
Prevenient Grace descending had remov'd
The stonie from thir hearts, and made new flesh
Regenerat grow instead, that sighs now breath'd
Unutterable, which the Spirit of prayer
Inspir'd, and wing'd for Heav'n with speedier flight
Then loudest Oratorie: yet thir port
Not of mean suiters, nor important less
Seem'd thir Petition, then when th' ancient Pair

Amber

Hover
the imagined center, our tongues
grew long to please it, licking

the walls, a chamber built of scent,

a moment followed by a lesser moment
& a hunger to return. It couldn't last. Resin

flowed glacially from wounds in the bark

Unleashed

Abandoned summer,
Hotter than the desert sand,
My bare body,
Trembles in your arms,
In the twelfth hour,
Like a rose made of salt,
Tepid temperatures,
They don’t make me sweat,
Altering pressure,
Masking tenderness,

Kaspar Hauser's Song

He truly loved the purple sun, descending from the hills,
The ways through the woods, the singing blackbird
And the joys of green.

Sombre was his dwelling in the shadows of the tree
And his face undefiled.
God, a tender flame, spoke to his heart:
Oh son of man!

Silently his step turned to the city in the evening;

A Fable For Critics

Phoebus, sitting one day in a laurel-tree's shade,
Was reminded of Daphne, of whom it was made,
For the god being one day too warm in his wooing,
She took to the tree to escape his pursuing;
Be the cause what it might, from his offers she shrunk,
And, Ginevra-like, shut herself up in a trunk;
And, though 'twas a step into which he had driven her,
He somehow or other had never forgiven her;
Her memory he nursed as a kind of a tonic,
Something bitter to chew when he'd play the Byronic,

Content

A youth in apparel that glittered
Went to walk in a grim forest.
There he met an assassin
Attired all in garb of old days;
He, scowling through the thickets,
And dagger poised quivering,
Rushed upon the youth.
'Sir,' said this latter,
'I am enchanted, believe me,
To die, thus,