O tower of light, sad beauty
that magnified necklaces and statues in the sea,
calcareous eye, insignia of the vast waters, cry
of the mourning petrel, tooth of the sea, wife
of the Oceanian wind, O separate rose
from the long stem of the trampled bush
that the depths, converted into archipelago,
O natural star, green diadem,
alone in your lonesome dynasty,
still unattainable, elusive, desolate
like one drop, like one grape, like the sea.
Now who could take you off to tiny life
In one room or in two rooms or in three
And cork you smartly, like the flask of wine
You are? Not any woman.
Not a wife.
You'd let her twirl you, give her a good glee
Showing your leaping ruby to a friend.
Though twirling would be meek.
Since not a cork
Could you allow, for being made so free.
A woman would be wise to think it well
If once a week you only rang the bell.
Now mind is clear
as a cloudless sky.
Time then to make a
home in wilderness.
What have I done but
wander with my eyes
in the trees? So I
will build: wife,
family, and seek
perish of lonesomeness
or want of food or
lightning or the bear
(must tame the hart
and wear the bear).
And maybe make an image
of my wandering, a little
image—shrine by the
roadside to signify
to traveler that I live
here in the wilderness
awake and at home.
I can write no stately proem
As a prelude to my lay;
From a poet to a poem
I would dare to say.
For if of these fallen petals
One to you seem fair,
Love will waft it till it settles
On your hair.
And when wind and winter harden
All the loveless land,
It will whisper of the garden,
You will understand.
AMONG the men and women, the multitude,
I perceive one picking me out by secret and divine signs,
Acknowledging none else—not parent, wife, husband, brother, child, any nearer than I
Some are baffled—But that one is not—that one knows me.
Ah, lover and perfect equal!
I meant that you should discover me so, by my faint indirections;
And I, when I meet you, mean to discover you by the like in you.
All around me, the sky with its deep shade of dark.
The moon with its shrunken soul.
Can I become what I want to become?
Neither wife or mother.
I am noone and nobody is my lover.
I am afraid
that when I go mad,
my father will bow his downy head
into his silver wings and weep.
My daughter, O my daughter.
Originally Published in The 2River View, 10.
Copyright © Lisa Zaran, 2005
Memory of sun seeps from the heart.
Grass grows yellower.
Faintly if at all the early snowflakes
Water becoming ice is slowing in
The narrow channels.
Nothing at all will happen here again,
Will ever happen.
Against the sky the willow spreads a fan
The silk's torn off.
Maybe it's better I did not become
Memory of sun seeps from the heart.
What is it? -- Dark?
Perhaps! Winter will have occupied us
In the night.
Your thighs off my hips.
As far as I'm concerned
They are all surgeons.
All of them.
They dismantled us
Each from the other.
As far as I'm concerned
They are all engineers.
All of them.
We were such a good
And loving invention.
An aeroplane made from a man and wife.
Wings and everything.
We hovered a little above the earth.
We even flew a little.
Last year I called this world of gain-givings
The darkest thinkable, and questioned sadly
If my own land could heave its pulse less gladly,
So charged it seemed with circumstance whence springs
The tragedy of things.
Yet at that censured time no heart was rent
Or feature blanched of parent, wife, or daughter
By hourly blazoned sheets of listed slaughter;
Death waited Nature's wont; Peace smiled unshent
From Ind to Occident.
Never a careworn wife but shows,
If a joy suffuse her,
Something beautiful to those
Patient to peruse her,
Some one charm the world unknows
Precious to a muser,
Haply what, ere years were foes,
Moved her mate to choose her.
But, be it a hint of rose
That an instant hues her,
Or some early light or pose
Wherewith thought renews her -
Seen by him at full, ere woes
Practised to abuse her -
Sparely comes it, swiftly goes,
Time again subdues her.
Edgar Lee Masters
In my life I was the town drunkard;
When I died the priest denied me burial
In holy ground.
The which rebounded to my good fortune.
For the Protestants bought this lot,
And buried my body here,
Close to the grave of the banker Nicholas,
And of his wife Priscilla.
Take note, ye prudent and pious souls,
Of the cross-currents in life
Which bring honor to the dead, who lived in shame.
A toy-maker made a toy wife and a toy child.
He made a toy house and some toy years.
He made a getting-old toy, and he made a dying
The toy-maker made a toy heaven and a toy god.
But, best of all, he liked making toy shit.
Today is Sunday.
For the first time they took me out into the sun today.
And for the first time in my life I was aghast
that the sky is so far away
and so blue
and so vast
I stood there without a motion.
Then I sat on the ground with respectful devotion
leaning against the white wall.
Who cares about the waves with which I yearn to roll
Or about strife or freedom or my wife right now.
The soil, the sun and me.
I feel joyful and how.
Drugs made Pauline vague.
She sat one day at the breakfast table
Fingering in a baffled way
The fronds of the maidenhair plant.
Was it the salt you were looking for dear?
said Dulcie, exchanging a glance with the Brigadier.
Chuff chuff Pauline what's the matter?
Said the Brigadier to his wife
Who did not even notice
What a handsome couple they made.
Why Brownlee left, and where he went,
Is a mystery even now.
For if a man should have been content
It was him; two acres of barley,
One of potatoes, four bullocks,
A milker, a slated farmhouse.
He was last seen going out to plough
On a March morning, bright and early.
By noon Brownlee was famous;
They had found all abandoned, with
The last rig unbroken, his pair of black
Horses, like man and wife,
Shifting their weight from foot to
Foot, and gazing into the future.
Peter, Peter, pumpkin-eater,
Had a wife and couldn't keep her;
He put her in a pumpkin shell,
And there he kept her very well.
Charming oysters I cry:
My masters, come buy,
So plump and so fresh,
So sweet is their flesh,
No Colchester oyster
Is sweeter and moister:
Your stomach they settle,
And rouse up your mettle:
They'll make you a dad
Of a lass or a lad;
And madam your wife
They'll please to the life;
Be she barren, be she old,
Be she slut, or be she scold,
Eat my oysters, and lie near her,
She'll be fruitful, never fear her.
In the end, I made myself
Known to your wife as
A god would, in her own house, in
Ithaca, a voice
Without a body: she
Paused in her weaving, her head turning
First to the right, then left
Though it was hopeless of course
To trace that sound to any
Objective source: I doubt
She will return to her loom
With what she knows now.
You see her again, tell her
This is how a god says goodbye:
If I am in her head forever
I am in your life forever.
Your baby grows a tooth, then two,
and four, and five, then she wants some meat
directly from the bone.
over: she'll learn some words, she'll fall
in love with cretins, dolts, a sweet
talker on his way to jail.
your wife, get old, flyblown, and rue
You did, you loved, your feet
Your daughter's tall.
My love's manners in bed
are not to be discussed by me,
as mine by her
I would not credit comment upon gracefully.
Yet I ride by the margin of that lake in
the wood, the castle,
and the excitement of strongholds;
and have a small boy's notion of doing good.
Oh well, I will say here,
knowing each man,
let you find a good wife too,
and love her as hard as you can.
It's the day of the ram
and the head of the year
Rosh Ha'Shanah at
services I sat next to
Mel Torme who outshone
all comers with his bar
mitzvah heroics while on
my left is Barnett Newman
big talker whose favorite
subjects include the horses
and the stock market he
knows the odds the women
are seated upstairs this is
an orthodox congregation
very serious I make
eye contact with the wife
of Menelaus who runs off
with Paris confident I'm Paris.
Lady, lady, should you meet
One whose ways are all discreet,
One who murmurs that his wife
Is the lodestar of his life,
One who keeps assuring you
That he never was untrue,
Never loved another one .
Lady, lady, better run!
FAST-ANCHOR’D, eternal, O love! O woman I love!
O bride! O wife! more resistless than I can tell, the thought of you!
—Then separate, as disembodied, or another born,
Ethereal, the last athletic reality, my consolation;
I ascend—I float in the regions of your love, O man,
O sharer of my roving life.
He's on the porch,
to escape the wife and kids--
how hot it is!
A Wife -- at daybreak I shall be --
Sunrise -- Hast thou a Flag for me?
At Midnight, I am but a Maid,
How short it takes to make a Bride --
Then -- Midnight, I have passed from thee
Unto the East, and Victory --
Midnight -- Good Night! I hear them call,
The Angels bustle in the Hall --
Softly my Future climbs the Stair,
I fumble at my Childhood's prayer
So soon to be a Child no more --
Eternity, I'm coming -- Sire,
Savior -- I've seen the face -- before!