Departments

Three Short Poems

[Nondefinitions should resume next week.]

Seasonal.

In summertime I cannot dream of winter;
In wintertime I cannot trust in summer.
On swaddled days when sunlight blasts to wither
And waxen thoughts run free in melted measure—
A knife against my skin lets me remember
How cold and sharp and clean and cruel is winter.
By canvas skies, in forest bare of shelter
When buried growing things are gone forever
A traitor sweat makes fever out of labor
And poison salt is all I know of summer.

The Sun in the Sea.

A lamp is behind each dream.
It burns like the sun in the sea
That shining from beneath
Through every sea-changed thing
(And every sea-born thing
That spreading rises from
Abyssal memory)
Stains the surface with shadows.
The endless dropping rain
Of the microscopic dead—
The easy dives of whales,
The gliding course of squids,
The straining submarines—
The billowing rise of steam,
The building rise of lava—
Are sketched inside the waves
In symbols, shapes and shadows
Cast by the lamp of dreams.

Ballad Meter.

You think that you have won today
   You hold your banner high;
Your smile, your dance and shouts all say,
   “My glory cannot die”;
But the sun is poised on the point of day
   To fall on the evening sky.