from A Dearth of Prose

We are the men who,
on an august winter day
would sally round the sun in verse
than go outside;
with parchment and paper
would scroll up heavens
to mine rocks instead.
Persephone is superfluous
when men are dancing elegies,
and calling out the diocese
for curing all their obsequies!

I knew a bird once;
she knew flight. Her wings agile;
"hail to theee, blithe spirit!"
and sung no more.

I remember autumn - dreary day,
but anticipating the cherry blossom:
the cathedral swept of her red, white, and gold
from leaded windows as the bishop sings.
The dust boy sweeps images into the street,
and every byway is littered with Saint John.
In spring is something sacred also,
when autumn desire fades at last,
and winter gobbles her up, and spring resumes.
"A real Easter sun," it is,
and she gives birth to flowers:
and lilies in full swell.

But Hades, he is not long unpresent,
a forked hand in the cracks of May.
He eats the plantains,
gobbles the gazelias,
and chants in the poppies
until we all fall down.
Maybe he teaches us scrapbooking;
to pluck the roses while we may,
and make Nefertiti of them.
Tut, tut!
'beauty doesn't last forever.

But books do.
Is Hades the wise schoolmaster
who brought us home? Persephone doubts;
irises bloom in her collage.
Bring me home.
In the new generation, we scroll winter days
of history, and know that we are warmer
than parents ever were.

back to poetry listings