i.m. Mark Strand (1934–2014)
Death smears a blackboard with its sleeve.
Where’s the horse a visiting poet drew
forty years ago?
The animal was Magritte’s, but he was dead.
Horse half shadow, half woods––
why chalk it
across the board in poetry class?
The hall of memory stifles,
it stifles a yawn.
Did a window there overlook Seattle?
That city put a visitor to sleep.
He looked the rain god
in the rheumy eye. O his Brazilian shoes!
Frail barques, they wouldn’t sail a block
before they leaked.
If his voice dies on land, take it down to the sea
and leave it on the shore.
This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 33 Number 9, on page 33
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