Another old poet, old friend, I conjure: a second Daniel to write to, while I sit at my pondering pints, pink with drinking-- my ruminative mind returns to me a hundred hundred hours merrily heaped with cocksure colloquy, pecking in the shade of the lion's den, two aging pagans hailing Pan. How often we mocked the very teeth of death with foamy vows outrageous as their sudsy birth. At midlife, our fortunes pile up silver dust to fill our untrimmed temples, a wealth of thoughts enriched by alpine crowns of time, as if wreathing clouds consented, trailing harmless sparks, to be our thinking caps! Years are mounting as we mount the years: our sacrifice is to live, and remain alienate from pop culture, embracing what was great. To linger on Olympus in our skivvies, our discarded skis set beside the fire; exchanging grapes with the gods, while midnight purrs plush, is triumph enough for us. Sway-stacked and furred with congenial dust, familiar books look out from under ragged racks of antique antlers and bad gags at this seaside pub-- the creak of memory loud underfoot, a tub of button daisies declaiming spring beneath the wind-waved sign: Ron's West End. At this cratered sea-cliff's visionary height, summer nights, still softly unborn, and windy winter's diminishing end both blow round our glowing table talk, whispering wisdoms between the elbowed mellow beers and bossy Brunhildas who rule the roost as if Chaucer never died, nor no clock ever tolled a verse beyond Falstaff's everlasting thirst. We'd talk until our literary prattle mounted, instance by little instance, to tallest universals: "Little Man's imagination floats, lotus-like, seeming unbound in the water blaze, and yet at its root, mud and blossom are integral; even thus is our little man's imagination integral with Nature's nurturing phenomena--" Cheerly we keep the "Al-Ron-Quin's" covenant of converse, alarming charm of riposte and counterpoint displayed around the flash and yellow leer of mugs. Wordsworth's here emending mumbles, Hamlet hums and haws 'til the deed is done-- both dissed and up-ended by our roaring joy in favor of old Coleridge and fierce Lear, one divining lines of logic in the infinite, one wrangling bare humanity on an empty heath, barking heartfelt metaphysics with a fool. And so we argue high midnight through to closing, and press each other's contention to a peak. And so a heightened speech is piled, word on word, and green on green, in the natural admonition of an oak tower- ing over lesser growths. Just as in humid June we'd climbed far Nether Stowey's stones in scrambled haste, short-breathed, up beneath the governing shade of woods so old and dense all stirring sound was damped until the hill's bare cap opened in a swirl of sky--blue and white and misted. The mountain where we stood, and stand, (the round high hill where Coleridge crowed until a last disaster buried him beneath), pours roundness down its sides, mossy coombs unmoving as the sweating stones they covered: green beyond the memory of green, everlasting as the grass where Coleridge strolled in glee. How long our conversation that day unrolled, laughing unmannerly as we hopped the brainy turf above horizons where the sea sketched white a limit to the vista, and to the sight-- and all the open dome of heaven was mute, God's own silence by piety magnified. What awful power moves unseen within us, blowing potent gusts through us, until we're left consigned unprepared to pinnacles unguessed? As music crests and crests to its crescendo, so poets' lives rise to one resounding note. Outside Ron's, the sea scowls pewter, too, an echo of those lonely Stowey views, agile as a drunken dutchman's fermented brew. Here, too, Dan, the decay of light and time declare a limit to the sight; here the sea flashes crested in the softly silver eve, and our old talk billows hollow with the surf, hazarding new splashes at night's darkest onset. Above, the unmoored moon--which calls heart and head and all to dream--repeats impermanent feats in the expanding scale all dreams distort and no knowledge amends. Our littleness is echoed like a fractal's edge in the universal pattern--as yet unspoken! And so the jazz of chatter happens, again and again: sophisticated, false; brave, benighted-- The dissolute smoke that clouds the moon, the dull confusion of stop-motion, photo-emulsion skies, where memory and meme are meeting this eve, is North-Star sharp by midnight, and we see how monkeys fed on evolution's bread row on the auroraed sea below, parting lights with makeshift paddles, as if the whole Milky Way could sit reflected in the pond out back! And indeed it does sit there, when we remember to look with Galileo's lens, or rheumy Rousseau's ruminative glance.