Child of my winter, born
When the new fallen soldiers froze
In Asia's steep ravines and fouled the snows,
When I was torn
The green catalpa tree has turned
All white; the cherry blooms once more.
In one whole year I haven't learned
A blessed thing they pay you for.
Sorting out letters and piles of my old
Canceled checks, old clippings, and yellow note cards
That meant something once, I happened to find
Your picture. That picture. I stopped there cold,
The eyelids glowing, some chill morning.
O world half-known through opening, twilit lids
Before the vague face clenches into light;
O universal waters like a cloud,
'One Snodgrass, two Snodgrass, three Snodgrass, four . . .
I took my own rollcall when I counted seconds;
'One two three, Two two three, Three . . .,' the drum score
Showed only long rests to the tympani's entrance.
After experience taught me that all the ordinary
Surroundings of social life are futile and vain;
I’m going to show you something very
Ugly: someday, it might save your life.
What’s unseen may not exist—
Or so those secret powers insist
That prowl past nightfall,
Enabled by the brain’s blacklist
These lawn chairs and the chaise lounge
of bulky redwood were purchased for my father
twenty years ago, then plumped down in the yard
where he seldom went when he could still work
My pale stepdaughter, just off the school bus,
Scowled, 'Well, that's the last time I say my name's
Snodgrass!' Just so, may that anonymous
Mexican male who prodigally claims