Collected Poems 1931-74



    Anonymous hand, record one afternoon,
    In May, some time before the fig-leaf:
    Boats lying idle in the sky, a town
    Thrown as on a screen of watered silk,
    Lying on its side, reddish and soluble,
    A sheet of glass leading down into the sea …
    Down here an idle boy catches a cicada:
    Imprisons it, laughing, in his sister’s cloak
    In whose warm folds the silly creature sings.
    Shape of boats, body of a young girl, cicada,
    Conspire and join each other here,
    In twelve sad lines against the dark.

(Location 3638)

    From a winter of vampires he selects one,
    Takes her to a dark house, undresses her:
    It is not at all how the story-books say
    But another kind of reversed success.
    A transaction where the words themselves
    Begin to bleed first and everything else follows.
    The dissolution of the egg In the mind of the lady suggests new
    Paths to follow, less improbable victories,
    Just as illusory as the old, I fear.
    Well, but when the embraces go astray,
    When you finger the quick recipes
    Of every known suggestion, why,
    The whole prosperity of the flesh may be in question.


(Location 5601)

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