Aug 272011
I banish all
Who fret and stall
To finish out my work:
Pitched to that extreme of thought
Or dark, and shambling room to room
As from spirit to spirit
And always preparing for that
Never-arriving guest,
I have labored over-long
Or too-thick with theme and means
Have overwrought my song.

Out of night like a distorted dream
Or storm more mysterious
A penitent ghost that cannot crest
The bound of rotted day appears;

Poets, learn to live as clay
All rich substance to underpin
Whatever a great man might make
Tinkering with his fate
In momentary play,
Or more solemnly erect,
Out of an undistracted hate.
All our lot have spurned and sung
Brevity of man, necessity of guns,
Unable as any mirror
To sing ourselves aright
Caught in enlarging night
We turned from face to face
As if every face would save us;
We who had arrogance enough
Of thought to have thought
That careless hands had made us.
So that a few good words might not perish
Or empty imagining sink unmanned
In unalterable loss
Collect like solemn children round
The myriad confusion of the foam
And write it out again:

Live, and live again, as old men say
Anxious for eternities
That make their own wisdom seem
But momentary toys that gleam
And are beaten back to mud.
I am not that holy sage
Remembers the misery of knowing all
Or turning to a wall completes
What body and its pleasure
Were forbidden to decide---
Under burdened moon
That sinks in July to rise on fire
Out of the glittering wheat
Knows man and his defeats
All the sudden infirmities
Blind violence took for sureties
And looks on them and laughs.

     From the womb man falls
     Or from the widowed breast
     Dispatched to a sultry grave
     That gives no rest.

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