Some days my thoughts are just cocoons- all cold, and dull and blind,
They hang from dripping branches in the grey woods of my mind;
And other days they drift and shine – such free and flying things!
I find the gold-dust in my hair, left by their brushing wings.
The flame of my life burns low
Under the cluttered days,
Like a fire of leaves.
But always a little blue, sweet-smelling smoke
Goes up to God.
I have worn this day as a fretting, ill-made garment,
Impatient to be rid of it.
And lo, as I drew it off over my shoulders
This jewel caught in my hair.
Death, always cruel, Pity’s foe in chief,
Mother who brought forth grief,
Merciless judgment and without appeal!
Since thou alone hast made my heart to feel
This sadness and unweal,
My tongue upbraideth thee without relief.
And now (for I must rid thy name of ruth)
Behoves me speak the truth
Touching thy cruelty and wickedness:
Not that they be not known; but ne’ertheless
I would give hate more stress
With them that feed on love in very sooth.
Out of this world thou hast driven courtesy,
And virtue, dearly prized in womanhood;
And out of youth’s gay mood
The lovely lightness is quite gone through thee.
Whom now I mourn, no man shall learn from me
Save by the measure of these praises given.
Whoso deserves not Heaven
May never hope to have her company.
Love and the gentle heart are one thing,
just as the poet says in his verse,
each from the other one as well divorced
as reason from the mind’s reasoning.
Nature craves love, and then creates love king,
and makes the heart a palace where he’ll stay,
perhaps a shorter or a longer day,
breathing quietly, gently slumbering.
Then beauty in a virtuous woman’s face
makes the eyes yearn, and strikes the heart,
so that the eyes’ desire’s reborn again,
and often, rooting there with longing, stays,
Till love, at last, out of its dreaming starts.
Woman’s moved likewise by a virtuous man.
Remembering, I ponder my wine glass,
Envisioning blazing night embers,
Shadows dancing in my dreams,
And I consider……Love.
I am indecisive,
My memories are desolate,
And I question your love
Because you called Collect!
I wonder where your soul is
As these restless night shadows burn,
While memory’s red, red colors bleed
Like a clock’s relentless flight.
This harpie with dry red curls
talked openly of her husband,
his impotence, his death, the death
of her lover, the birth and death
of her own beauty. She stared
into the mirror next to
our table littered with the wreck
of her appetite and groaned:
Look what you’ve done to me!
as though only that moment
she’d discovered her own face.
Look, and she shoved the burden
of her ruin on the waiter.
I do not believe in sorrow;
it is not American.
At 8,000 feet the towns
of this blond valley smoke
like the thin pipes of the Chinese,
and I go higher where the air
is clean, thin, and the underside
of light is clearer than the light.
Above the tree line the pines
crowd below like moments of the past
and on above the snow line
the cold underside of my arm,
the half in shadow, sweats with fear
as though it lay along the edge
And so my mind closes around
a square oil can crushed on the road
one morning, startled it was not
the usual cat. If a crow
had come out of the air to choose
its entrails could I have laughed?
If eagles formed now in the
shocked vegetation of my sight
would they be friendly? I can hear
their wings lifting them down, the feathers
tipped with red dust, that dust which
even here I taste, having eaten it
all these years.