from Shakespeare's Head
The beautiful day goes inching down the hill,
and the city slowly turns to salt, a cup of pink sediment
for the archaeologists (– you know what I meant).
Our way of marking time is some kind of alarming fire drill
or lucky lie. Booked up, full of libraries,
Orpheus starts, doubling back toward midnight.
He's not Dr. Faust, nor the last erring knight
to give it all up for ghost-dance Eurydice –
he's just a January puss, a chilly two-edged blade,
a marvel of a marred Marlowe on the line
to Hell and back; a ghostwriter on a pinhead
twisted into the dying-down upside season.
And while the ice-cubed chalice cracks,
and the fortunate bluejays whistle the lowdown,
and Cardinal Eccles is among the asters flown,
he'll only close his eyes. . . until mourning breaks
them open. Atlantis sleeps there;
the gondola floats Venice leaning backward
into the glazed rainbow canoe; Lord,
help him lift her into the air now,
the grief song, the whole harmless moan. . .
motionless almost, but not like stone,
the meadow grass, the far-off oaks, the drone
of the cicadas, the breathing animals. . . all one.
What then is the measure of the epic summer?
Love is strong as death, jealousy as cruel as the grave.
Broken on the back of a lie – like the seventh wave,
the crushed coracle on the beach. . . (a prairie schooner).
Park on ridge of Seekonk River, Providence
"The Hannah" ship sculpture, Burnside Park