Close was enough, but any closer,
   More than you could bear.
      Seated inside,

Eating, I, a sometime talker often
   Struck dumb, glimpsed you
      And shuddered,

Considering the glory of your estate:
   To wait always hungrily
      At the Great Door.

If one had kept you under a gentle
   Thumb when you were younger,
      If one had not

Let you taste of the bruised black
   Radishes dabbled in shoyu
      And attar of sesame,

If one had not at first unfolded, then
   Pulled out from under you
      The Khalabar,

It would have been different. As it was,
   Glancing inside, you paused,
      Sensing the threshold.

So it was not without forbearance,
   Refusing to be admitted
      You had come.

Yaddo, 1971

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 4 Number 3, on page 35
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