(Sonnet as Keynote to WS)
The stout man puffs on his Havana cigar
And picks canary chords on his blue guitar,
(For Cynthia Ann Dougherty)
Towing your tattered doll,
you would fetch your storybook
[from the Crab Sonnets]
They sank a silver zipper in my chest:
a foot of snag-toothed staples used to chain
A soldier's curse is not the copper pay,
stationed here in this gods-forsaken place!
I'd bribe a centurion to leave today.
The archived rite returns in gothic gray:
a bruise-dark sky, a blunt and tugging rain,
a sheen of black umbrellas, spaded clay.
The camera obscura, mind, ingrains
The unction cools my brow; the candle shines
and braids a line of sacramental brede;
the priest half-chants the text, and makes the signs,
jogging my mind with the redemptive creed
I slouch into my class, bowed by the brute,
apocalyptic shock. No student's eyes
forsake the glowing screen; the sound is mute.
Their center, Yeats's vatic lines forewarn, flies
Words are for those with promises to keep. — W.H. Auden
I promised her the garden's glory:
marigold's monarchal blooms,
I traced his tracks in crunching snow,
printed crisply under the solemn pines:
they left a trail like doubt in doubt—
shuffling in murk, as if for signs.
The mole catacombed under dripping roots,
gnawing grubs like clustered shrimp, pulpy white
dangling in gloom. In the oak, patient hoots