Poems November 1988
Moonlight and madness
It is the sort of thing you may have dreamt for years:
A man in the moonlight, lucid, cool, a little cruel,
As if the garden somewhere held a mammoth vase of tears.
Even in the dream you know it is a kind of craze—
These are the things discarded when you could not stand them anymore,
Drop by drop, too cold, too moonlit to be called the sweat of days.
For you have lain, as moist as any man, in her glorious arms,
Taken up the pen that scattered spots expanding like the sea,
And written of, not written off, a tale of her voluptuous charms.
Still, this sense of life’s effluvia always underlies
The shotput in the sun, the stalled car, the pushing up the hill,
The strangely alabaster little tear running from her eyes.
This is when the promise of the moonstruck dream takes over.
No cup will do, no bowl—it must be something like a massive urn
To hold all we think that we have lost as athlete and as lover.
It never fills, it never tips—it is an icon on the moonlit land,
Almost comforting to those who struggled up the hill or kissed so much,
And felt bewildered muscles slacken, and the tear dry on the hand.
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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 7 Number 3, on page 47
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