Shakespeare's Head is the headwaters now
of the Providence Preservation Society.
Here lawyers, newsmen, literati
swirled, 200 years ago.
A century before and two steps down the hill
old Williams called them out beside the riverbank
and there they convenanted – what to think
and what to speak not to be enforced by rule.
Up the slope and facing the art school
under the constant spray of a water slide
stone Hermes, Orpheus, Eurydice, all stand
motionless beneath the fountain's endless fall.
The land, the land stretched out toward sundown.
At the end of the forests without end, the sun gleamed.
by Greeks, the dry flute flown
into moist green, light fern-green
ghosts in the trees.
I'm driving the empty roads
in early May, at dawn.
Someone cries out Eurydice, Eurydice
into ramshackle and forlorn wastelands.
Blind joyful grief behind the railroad lines.
All gone to seed. Oh say can you see.
Orpheus Ascending, by Gilbert Franklin, 1963