As though one could get drunk
on one's own blood, grown deeper,
darker, richer with time, assorted
passions spicing, the seasons adding
their bit, here in beginning autumn
our roses break out again, slack
in their petals.

But though that's
where we are, the cooling off going
on, dawn shines, convinced of itself,
knowing nothing beyond the changes,
everlasting for their instant,
ceaseless in the air and earth
and us.

As if cracks had spread,
spaces are opening in the weather,
like a giant locust that, leveled
by a tornado unexpectedly blowing in,
now shows its dense, elegant rings,
patterning only time and the sedulous
elements could produce.

Something kept
in the root-cellar, a long-stacked
vintage wine, pressed from grapes
how many years, how many continents,

Now, in this instant ripened,
remembering nothing past itself,
that something shoots out windy flags
of fragrance, shoots swift-darting
currents up and down the blood. 

Who would have thought—beyond the wreckage,
trees uprooted, cattle
drifting through—such new delights
could bob from such belated flood.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 9 Number 2, on page 49
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