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Five More “Love” Poems For Kathy

KEEPING LETTERS

This letter, or the ones before,

“constant” courses that can never reach their destiny,

are kept like stillness in this lower drawer.

Petals are in the trees; leisure and brine,

even so far inland as this, sweep off the sea

(their kiss is sweet like tranquillity)

but nothing has ever swept all my letters into one drawer

to feed upon themselves.

I leave the morning there; I leave the afternoon;

night in her arms has never looked so black.

What am I gathering letters for? The room

is small, the afternoons are grey. Cut to the quick,

my nails present a grim, Caucasian ivory.

I go out to the busy, beachless roads;

petals are pallid like imaginary spume;

the froth of a laugh blows up like spittle on my coat.

Kathy! how many times have I cut out your throat!

but all imaginary blood is glum! These letters that I sink away

chase me into contusion where the whippers flay.

I am again in my room. The curtains are full of lace,

the light acres beyond me. In this darkenss

I will not begin to write again, gathering to myself

a thousand tragic rises.

I am knowledgeless of how you laugh (or cry)

but pity never seemed so blank, so desolate an eye.

The cars are cataclysmic in the dark. There is a smash,

a rush. All the poor flowers over the road are being plucked.

It is this darkening wisdom that has never seemed so rash

as now when pepper and ache and acid blade the plough.

Has it begun to rain? The trees are very still.

This month of June contains the apocalyptic daffodil.

(from “”Love” Poems For Kathy / Green. Laced. Leaves”)

 

SPEAK TO ME

A quietness all this time has been

Sitting upon the tree;

The blossoms have eclipsed the sun

Between the sun and me;

The air from heaven was never seen

To ruffle simplicity.

It’s light where men take up their lives

But many go down in the dark

Though many a ship was thought to be

Sea-worthy like the ark.

Ah, listen to all the bones that move

In the solemn sands of the seas.

My darling’s sister told me (low).

“I’ll never die,” I said.

“Ah, don’t be sure,” she wisely put

Her word in for the dead.

“Every ward has a cancer now

“Though flowers and lilies and all things crow.”

“But, Barbie, though you are a nurse,

“Nurses know never enough.”

“Enough to smooth a dead man’s brow

“And find the wrinkles rough.

“It’s the keening of the living

“That lets death do its bidding.”

Now, while the empty apple tree

Twigs in a hollow sun,

Music has never seemed so loud

Or melodious as the gun

At dusk, at reddest dusk,

When all the ducks are falling, one by one.

Still on the reeds the flowers hang,

Their music is a perpetual fall.

The trout are slippery in the pools.

The trees have never looked so tall

As when they bend to readjust

To a temperamental wind.

Speak to me, Kathy! Say a word!

Tell me you hate me still!

Your sisters are much better than you

But it’s you who are with me still.

The empty trees are a wealth of you

Over the ruined daffodil.

I heard last night you moved away

Just after you wrote to me.

Sweeting, these things I already know,

The constancy of your mutiny.

I know them all like an idiot-fool

Staggering to love whatever’s cruel.

Leave me, imagination! Let me be!

The stars are all unfurled!

The riotous rivers have their sources choked!

The raven croaks like a wicked girl!

Imagination, let me be!

Imagination, let me be!

Dear are your sisters, darling, far better –

They have their hatreds well encompassed,

But you will rivet a darkness to the stars,

Passing the time of day where

Diners eat their insubstantial meats,

And die, promoting malnutrition’s airs.

Speak to me, Kathy! What are these laws you learn

If they unteach you to communicate?

The devil take your family, the negatives

Of the world undo them all,

If, in so doing, you will come near me

And speak, or gently call.

But this self-centredness is coarse;

It guides a worthless life.

See! how you earn a tatter

When you could be well dressed.

You ruin yourself to cut the blossoms down

Though the blossoms show your bosom best!

(from “”Love” Poems For Kathy / Green. Laced. Leaves”)

 

HE UNCOVERS HER

Letting the swine light go

light has the quiet of snow

in the ropes now fretted fast

gone in a leaf of love

where the tree is a bud of wrath

and anger a mist of doves

from all skies to beneath all paths

and never a better time

than to know whatever is

and to know between the rhyme

the breath of the darkest kiss.

O darker than any death

is my dear one and her joy

though how can a corpse give breath

without subterfuge and ploy :

a cunning game to ensnare such sweet

and be killed or kill

where the furies meet?

(from “”Love” Poems For Kathy / Green. Laced. Leaves”)

 

OH, YOU HAVE BEEN SO LOVELY AND SO LOST

Oh, you have been so lovely and so lost

While May arrived to purple flowers,

Moisten lilies and the early roses show. But no

Skimmering of joy leapt up to gild the glory of those flowers.

Martins built (so suddenly they came)

And all the swallows, too,

But elegies made cloudy dimness glow in heaven’s blue,

And then the pageant May descanted Katharine,

And Katharine’s untrue.

(from “”Love” Poems For Kathy / Green. Laced. Leaves”)

 

LOVE’S DEFEAT ON A BLUE DAY

Cold as a man’s brain after racking and the knife

In the still blent air

Hung the terrified love,

Identified by that collision of concerns

Causing suffering.  Care

Must be mentioned, for care and love

Are habitual friends, and in this scene

Lay in each other’s arms, weeping.

How to describe that day of huge, blue cord?

In ribbons and cords of thickest blue it travelled

Like some linked convict-train of unidentifiable figures

Hanging love’s limbs with perverting haloes,

And on love’s festering brow setting the seal of stealth.

“Thief! thief!” cried Love to the colluding air.

Love drew in its breath, and in its breath were the lungs of nowhere.

(from “”Love” Poems For Kathy / Green. Laced. Leaves”)

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