Verlaine said the poem slowly rises like the sun,
Spreads over the landscape, a bird that hovers,
Moves on to find and bless a pair of lovers:
The work of the sun is never done.

It loves the still, ardent, and the physical--
The house is closed--it climbs the stair,
And leaves its shaded footprints everywhere:
The always prowling word is never finical.

A vast impressionist, it mixes palettes--
You think you have the sunlight captured on a nude,
But it never meant to stay too long or brood--
Clouds pass by, and in a moment it forgets.

It dawdles with the minatory and the minuscule,
Spotlights a hidden bruise, a scar beneath the brim:
Someone beaten, slashed--Her or Him?
A realist as well, it does not join with any school.

Random rover, it wants to get most things just right--
Some days I feel it heating liquid in my pen,
The sunlit river flows a while and then
Lovers leave my land, an evening bird takes flight.

After all, the magnum opus came to grips
With crimes of passion, soft caresses,
Things picked out by starlight which it barely blesses--
Something put a hand upon the sun and sealed its lips.

--Charles Edward Eaton

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 22 Number 2, on page 38
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