Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Moon We've Got

We have none.  What you want, what you are seeking

In books and from that cave inside the pit,
We don’t have that.  What you have not pursued
Over the river and through the woods, we stock,
And we can locate what you’d rather not.
We do not stock elixirs, though.  Heart’s-ease
Is unavailable this time of year.
The talking mirror set, with comic brush,
We just ran out, whenever you came in.
Riches that do not callous the heart, those beans
That everybody wants?  Nobody has.
A second chance?  A second second chance?
You could ask for the moon.  The moon we’ve got.
It comes in sizes—young and growing old.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Aere Perennius

If they commingle when we die

The dust you make, the dust that I
produce, maybe the dog’s, and that
clump of leafmeal, perhaps a scat
and clippings, in a year or two,
who’s going to know which dust was you?
Most glorious of all who share
the stage tonight, of every stare
the subject and the hope, to claim
more of your birthright than a name,
it cannot be. You are a weed,
a metatarsal, or a seed
on fallow ground. Not more. Unless
they shroud you in the golden dress
that sheathes you now, there is no place
which will preserve your present grace
to an agnostic, future age.
They might, of course, peruse this page.
How cheap is that, and how unfair,
if you are no-, this everywhere?
Patience does not reward the dead.
It pays them off in print instead.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Nothing of the Kine: An Idyll

Horrors, the lazy currents seem to spell

Saxon-ish imprecations on the pond.
Pathetic in their fallacies, the frogs
Croak in distaste; the serried midges form
An arrow pointing at the horrid words,
The word made wet, a stranger in their mist.
If words could kill, we all would die, the cow
Observes beyond her fence. She has been told
All cows eat grass. I don't know if that's true,
She tells her stablemate, but why take chances?
I wager it is so, and so I eat.
Grass is its own reward. The shrieking pond
Is turtle-proud, but in a world of woe,
We keep to beaten ways, as best we can
And distance ourself from the shellfish sort,
The gravitas-less insects, and the fowl;
But, oh, how the amphibious betray
Lack of commitment. Low, she says. We're born,
And no one knows a single thing thereafter.

Thursday, December 17, 2015


A foot of snow descended on the house,

All fall at once and we pretended joy
At such a purty fluffiness, and broke
Our backs and shovel blades, and prayed for spring.
Spring would arrive, but not because of us
The snow grows grass and lubricates the bulbs
Stripped from their husks it promised and delivered.
Summer, which disbelieves in snow, will swear
Sweat is the moisture agriculture named;
But summer lies, and winter lasts: within
The master bedroom wall a cache of snow
Waits and concedes no melting, never melts.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Mr Jarrell's Fairy Tale

Mr Jarrell's fairy tale will begin

With German, where he found Gemütlichkeit
And Heimat, but which makes you think of Stürm
And Kindertotenlieder, not the Nacht
Where wolves leave calling cards, like furry salesmen.

And then come maidens--no, not little girls,
But maidens, singing Schubert, braids and busts:
Like bodyguards, they ripple, and their eyes
Are blue as glass. Their fingers smell of milk.

And next march files of small misshapen men,
Named many things; they all are phallus-shaped
With hoes and picks and axes. They are chanting
Bass songs of conquest over Mutter Earth.
They clear the ground and build transparent coffins.

And here at last comes Goethe. Rise for this
Interminable harbinger of Höch--
High everything, immer and eloquent,
So sound and sane our longhorn cattle flee
Their frontier spreads, the coyotes disavow
All knowledge of their German kin, whilst he--
Randall, not Johann--broiders in the dusk
A tale so full of Old World charm, you think
You'd die, just die, to have the chance to bleed
In märchen woods, watched over by black trees,
A coverlet of ash, made from good Völk
And rosy children, still before their time,
To warm you as you snuggle down to bones.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

The Arc of History

Phoebus in his coat and tie

Caught the barista’s wandering eye,
And all was won, and love was done,
And love produced an errant son,
And all the world was hot and dry.

A shepherd in a foundered field
Found him a maid and made her yield.
A golden age, by golden rule,
Began its rain, and it was cool,
Its prior mystery concealed.

They called it fable, called it lore,
The days of rain, the age of ore.
And all of those who came behind
Said it had been by love designed,
And they were what had been in store.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Geoffrey, P.I

Just moments ago the kings and princes left;

Priors pleading engagements to buy and sell
Indulgence futures, they commanded peals
And hautboys to blow them off. I drank my beer.
Pale enough, sure, but nobody would mistake
Moi for a prince, me for the high command,
The stuffed lark on my mantel for a hawk.
I ate some pretzels. Somebody's dead duke
Had fucked with the wrong archbishop's piece, employed
A crucifix between his jersey legs.
You shouldn't ought to do that on a nave
Made shiny and kept clean by novices.
I missed my lunch, and nobody seemed sure
If dukes were to be solved or disappeared.
My ex had opted for the latter, left
For some deer park outside St Smithereens,
And me and Buster sifted through the clues
In ashpits, huts, and shabby priories.
I could tell tales, but then I'd have to leave you,
Springtime or not or cherry-staining skies.