Aug2nd

AFTER THE FALL

What shape had I before the Fall ?
What hills and rivers did I seek?
What were my thoughts then? And of what
Celestial happenings did I speak

To my companions ? Did our eyes
From some wide-opening mountain place
See Heaven and Earth in one, and range
From bound to bound of Time and Space ?

Did I see Chaos and the Word,
The suppliant dust, the moving Hand,
Myself, the Many and the One,
The changing and the unchanging Land ?

That height cannot be scaled again.
My fall was like the fall that burst
Old Lear’s heart on the summer sward.
Where I lie now I stood at first.

Yet the old pain returns anew:
What was I ere I was a man ?
What shape among the shapes that once
Age-long through endless Eden ran ?

The thousand worlds of sport and play
Where my armorial comrades were
The low-browed voiceless animals:
What sights and shapes did I see there ?

Did I see there the dragon brood
By streams their emerald scales unfold.
While from their amber eyeballs flowed
Soft-rayed the rich and rustling gold?

It may be that one time I walked
By rivers where the dragon drinks;
But this side Eden’s gate I meet,
On every twisting road, the Sphinx,

Whose head is like a wooden prow.
That forward leaning dizzily
Over the seas of whitened worlds
Has passed and nothing found to see;

Whose’breast, a flashing ploughshare, once
Cut the rich furrows wrinkled in
Venusberg’s sultry underworld.
And ever trampled fields of sin;

Whose salt-white brow like crusted fire
Smiles ever, whose cheeks are red as blood;
Whose dolphin back is flowered yet
With wrack that foundered in the Flood.

Since then in antique attitudes
I swing the bright two-handed sword.
And smite the marble smiling brow.
Wide-eyed and-watchful as a bird;

Smite hard between the basilisk eyes,
And gash the snaky dolphin side.
Until the coils are cloven in two.
And free the glittering pinions glide.

Like quicksilver the scales slip down.
Up through the air the spirit flies,
And so I build me Heaven and Hell
To buy my bartered Paradise.

While from a legendary height
I watch a shadowy figure fall,
And not far off another beats ,
With his bare hands on Eden’s wall.

by Edwin Muir

Jul11th

Invictus

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

by William Ernest Henley

Apr9th

TO CARRY A HATCHET

An axe
Ground tight and sharp
Against a grindstone
Used for noses hard
Makes for grudges strange
Highly committed all the same
Where the grindstone becomes a neck’s millstone
We all know where that goes
Where it leads
What it does

A grudge
Will become
Promethian guts
A Wound
Unending
If you bind it not
For giving of its false strength,
It is weakness only lent
Forgiving imbues strength
Of knowledge sometimes hard learnt

So give it back by letting go
The axes handle, to plant it as a tree
Release your chains, the ones you hold,
Those carried in your hands
And feathers fall from your Will instead

They’ll settle
Through the wind of time they’ll flutter
Sometimes catching and clinging
Though eventually carried off
To rivers of melody
Cutting across the scenes of your life

by Phillip Patton

Sep28th

Andrea del Sarto

But do not let us quarrel any more,
No, my Lucrezia; bear with me for once:
Sit down and all shall happen as you wish.
You turn your face, but does it bring your heart?
I’ll work then for your friend’s friend, never fear,
Treat his own subject after his own way,
Fix his own time, accept too his own price,
And shut the money into this small hand
When next it takes mine. Will it? tenderly?
Oh, I’ll content him,—but to-morrow, Love!
I often am much wearier than you think,
This evening more than usual, and it seems
As if—forgive now—should you let me sit
Here by the window with your hand in mine
And look a half-hour forth on Fiesole,
Both of one mind, as married people use,
Quietly, quietly the evening through,
I might get up to-morrow to my work
Cheerful and fresh as ever. Let us try.
To-morrow, how you shall be glad for this!
Your soft hand is a woman of itself,
And mine the man’s bared breast she curls inside.
Don’t count the time lost, neither; you must serve
For each of the five pictures we require:
It saves a model. So! keep looking so—
My serpentining beauty, rounds on rounds!
—How could you ever prick those perfect ears,
Even to put the pearl there! oh, so sweet—
My face, my moon, my everybody’s moon,
Which everybody looks on and calls his,
And, I suppose, is looked on by in turn,
While she looks—no one’s: very dear, no less.
You smile? why, there’s my picture ready made,
There’s what we painters call our harmony!
A common greyness silvers everything,—
All in a twilight, you and I alike
—You, at the point of your first pride in me
(That’s gone you know),—but I, at every point;
My youth, my hope, my art, being all toned down
To yonder sober pleasant Fiesole.
There’s the bell clinking from the chapel-top;
That length of convent-wall across the way
Holds the trees safer, huddled more inside;
The last monk leaves the garden; days decrease,
And autumn grows, autumn in everything.
Eh? the whole seems to fall into a shape
As if I saw alike my work and self
And all that I was born to be and do,
A twilight-piece. Love, we are in God’s hand.
How strange now, looks the life he makes us lead;
So free we seem, so fettered fast we are!
I feel he laid the fetter: let it lie!
This chamber for example—turn your head—
All that’s behind us! You don’t understand
Nor care to understand about my art,
But you can hear at least when people speak:
And that cartoon, the second from the door
—It is the thing, Love! so such things should be—
Behold Madonna!—I am bold to say.
I can do with my pencil what I know,
What I see, what at bottom of my heart
I wish for, if I ever wish so deep—
Do easily, too—when I say, perfectly,
I do not boast, perhaps: yourself are judge,
Who listened to the Legate’s talk last week,
And just as much they used to say in France.
At any rate ’tis easy, all of it!
No sketches first, no studies, that’s long past:
I do what many dream of, all their lives,
—Dream? strive to do, and agonize to do,
And fail in doing. I could count twenty such
On twice your fingers, and not leave this town,
Who strive—you don’t know how the others strive
To paint a little thing like that you smeared
Carelessly passing with your robes afloat,—
Yet do much less, so much less, Someone says,
(I know his name, no matter)—so much less!
Well, less is more, Lucrezia: I am judged.
There burns a truer light of God in them,
In their vexed beating stuffed and stopped-up brain,
Heart, or whate’er else, than goes on to prompt
This low-pulsed forthright craftsman’s hand of mine.
Their works drop groundward, but themselves, I know,
Reach many a time a heaven that’s shut to me,
Enter and take their place there sure enough,
Though they come back and cannot tell the world.
My works are nearer heaven, but I sit here.
The sudden blood of these men! at a word—
Praise them, it boils, or blame them, it boils too.
I, painting from myself and to myself,
Know what I do, am unmoved by men’s blame
Or their praise either. Somebody remarks
Morello’s outline there is wrongly traced,
His hue mistaken; what of that? or else,
Rightly traced and well ordered; what of that?
Speak as they please, what does the mountain care?
Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what’s a heaven for? All is silver-grey,
Placid and perfect with my art: the worse!
I know both what I want and what might gain,
And yet how profitless to know, to sigh
“Had I been two, another and myself,
“Our head would have o’erlooked the world!” No doubt.
Yonder’s a work now, of that famous youth
The Urbinate who died five years ago.
(‘Tis copied, George Vasari sent it me.)
Well, I can fancy how he did it all,
Pouring his soul, with kings and popes to see,
Reaching, that heaven might so replenish him,
Above and through his art—for it gives way;
That arm is wrongly put—and there again—
A fault to pardon in the drawing’s lines,
Its body, so to speak: its soul is right,
He means right—that, a child may understand.
Still, what an arm! and I could alter it:
But all the play, the insight and the stretch—
(Out of me, out of me! And wherefore out?
Had you enjoined them on me, given me soul,
We might have risen to Rafael, I and you!
Nay, Love, you did give all I asked, I think—
More than I merit, yes, by many times.
But had you—oh, with the same perfect brow,
And perfect eyes, and more than perfect mouth,
And the low voice my soul hears, as a bird
The fowler’s pipe, and follows to the snare —
Had you, with these the same, but brought a mind!
Some women do so. Had the mouth there urged
“God and the glory! never care for gain.
“The present by the future, what is that?
“Live for fame, side by side with Agnolo!
“Rafael is waiting: up to God, all three!”
I might have done it for you. So it seems:
Perhaps not. All is as God over-rules.
Beside, incentives come from the soul’s self;
The rest avail not. Why do I need you?
What wife had Rafael, or has Agnolo?
In this world, who can do a thing, will not;
And who would do it, cannot, I perceive:
Yet the will’s somewhat—somewhat, too, the power—
And thus we half-men struggle. At the end,
God, I conclude, compensates, punishes.
‘Tis safer for me, if the award be strict,
That I am something underrated here,
Poor this long while, despised, to speak the truth.
I dared not, do you know, leave home all day,
For fear of chancing on the Paris lords.
The best is when they pass and look aside;
But they speak sometimes; I must bear it all.
Well may they speak! That Francis, that first time,
And that long festal year at Fontainebleau!
I surely then could sometimes leave the ground,
Put on the glory, Rafael’s daily wear,
In that humane great monarch’s golden look,—
One finger in his beard or twisted curl
Over his mouth’s good mark that made the smile,
One arm about my shoulder, round my neck,
The jingle of his gold chain in my ear,
I painting proudly with his breath on me,
All his court round him, seeing with his eyes,
Such frank French eyes, and such a fire of souls
Profuse, my hand kept plying by those hearts,—
And, best of all, this, this, this face beyond,
This in the background, waiting on my work,
To crown the issue with a last reward!
A good time, was it not, my kingly days?
And had you not grown restless… but I know—
‘Tis done and past: ’twas right, my instinct said:
Too live the life grew, golden and not grey,
And I’m the weak-eyed bat no sun should tempt
Out of the grange whose four walls make his world.
How could it end in any other way?
You called me, and I came home to your heart.
The triumph was—to reach and stay there; since
I reached it ere the triumph, what is lost?
Let my hands frame your face in your hair’s gold,
You beautiful Lucrezia that are mine!
“Rafael did this, Andrea painted that;
“The Roman’s is the better when you pray,
“But still the other’s Virgin was his wife—”
Men will excuse me. I am glad to judge
Both pictures in your presence; clearer grows
My better fortune, I resolve to think.
For, do you know, Lucrezia, as God lives,
Said one day Agnolo, his very self,
To Rafael . . . I have known it all these years . . .
(When the young man was flaming out his thoughts
Upon a palace-wall for Rome to see,
Too lifted up in heart because of it)
“Friend, there’s a certain sorry little scrub
“Goes up and down our Florence, none cares how,
“Who, were he set to plan and execute
“As you are, pricked on by your popes and kings,
“Would bring the sweat into that brow of yours!”
To Rafael’s!—And indeed the arm is wrong.
I hardly dare . . . yet, only you to see,
Give the chalk here—quick, thus, the line should go!
Ay, but the soul! he’s Rafael! rub it out!
Still, all I care for, if he spoke the truth,
(What he? why, who but Michel Agnolo?
Do you forget already words like those?)
If really there was such a chance, so lost,—
Is, whether you’re—not grateful—but more pleased.
Well, let me think so. And you smile indeed!
This hour has been an hour! Another smile?
If you would sit thus by me every night
I should work better, do you comprehend?
I mean that I should earn more, give you more.
See, it is settled dusk now; there’s a star;
Morello’s gone, the watch-lights show the wall,
The cue-owls speak the name we call them by.
Come from the window, love,—come in, at last,
Inside the melancholy little house
We built to be so gay with. God is just.
King Francis may forgive me: oft at nights
When I look up from painting, eyes tired out,
The walls become illumined, brick from brick
Distinct, instead of mortar, fierce bright gold,
That gold of his I did cement them with!
Let us but love each other. Must you go?
That Cousin here again? he waits outside?
Must see you—you, and not with me? Those loans?
More gaming debts to pay? you smiled for that?
Well, let smiles buy me! have you more to spend?
While hand and eye and something of a heart
Are left me, work’s my ware, and what’s it worth?
I’ll pay my fancy. Only let me sit
The grey remainder of the evening out,
Idle, you call it, and muse perfectly
How I could paint, were I but back in France,
One picture, just one more—the Virgin’s face,
Not yours this time! I want you at my side
To hear them—that is, Michel Agnolo—
Judge all I do and tell you of its worth.
Will you? To-morrow, satisfy your friend.
I take the subjects for his corridor,
Finish the portrait out of hand—there, there,
And throw him in another thing or two
If he demurs; the whole should prove enough
To pay for this same Cousin’s freak. Beside,
What’s better and what’s all I care about,
Get you the thirteen scudi for the ruff!
Love, does that please you? Ah, but what does he,
The Cousin! what does he to please you more?

I am grown peaceful as old age to-night.
I regret little, I would change still less.
Since there my past life lies, why alter it?
The very wrong to Francis!—it is true
I took his coin, was tempted and complied,
And built this house and sinned, and all is said.
My father and my mother died of want.
Well, had I riches of my own? you see
How one gets rich! Let each one bear his lot.
They were born poor, lived poor, and poor they died:
And I have laboured somewhat in my time
And not been paid profusely. Some good son
Paint my two hundred pictures—let him try!
No doubt, there’s something strikes a balance. Yes,
You loved me quite enough. it seems to-night.
This must suffice me here. What would one have?
In heaven, perhaps, new chances, one more chance—
Four great walls in the New Jerusalem,
Meted on each side by the angel’s reed,
For Leonard, Rafael, Agnolo and me
To cover—the three first without a wife,
While I have mine! So—still they overcome
Because there’s still Lucrezia,—as I choose.

Again the Cousin’s whistle! Go, my Love.

Robert Browning

May26th

JOINED THE BLUES

Says Stonewall Jackson to “Little Phil”: “Phil, have you heard the news?
Why, our ‘Joe’ Wheeler — ‘Fighting Joe’ — has gone and joined the blues.

“Ay, no mistake — I saw him come — I heard the oath he took –
And you’ll find it duly entered up in yon great Record Book.

“Yes, ‘Phil,’ it is a change since then (we give the Lord due thanks)
When ‘Joe’ came swooping like a hawk upon your Sherman’s flanks!

“Why, ‘Phil,’ you knew the trick yourself — but ‘Joe’ had all the points –
And we’ve yet to hear his horses died of stiff or rusty joints!

“But what of that? — the deed I saw to-day in yonder town
Leads all we did and all ‘Joe’ did in trooping up and down;

“For, ‘Phil,’ that oath shall be the heal of many a bleeding wound,
And many a Southland song shall yet to that same oath be tuned!

“The oath ‘Joe’ swore has done the work of thrice a score of years –
Ay, more than oath — he swore away mistrust and hate and tears!”

“Yes, yes,” says Phil, “he was, indeed, a right good worthy foe,
And well he knew, in those fierce days, to give us blow for blow.

“When ‘Joe’ came round to pay a call — the commissaries said –
Full many a swearing, grumbling ‘Yank’ went supperless to bed:

“He seemed to have a pesky knack — so Sherman used to say –
“Of calling, when he should by rights be ninety miles away!

“Come, Stonewall, put your hand in mine, — ‘Joe’s sworn old Samuel’s oath –
We’re never North or South again — he kissed the Book for both!”

by John Jerome Rooney

May26th

AN ADDRESS BY AN EX-CONFEDERATE SOLDIER TO THE GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC

I
I was a rebel, if you please,
a reckless fighter to the last,
Nor do I fall upon my knees
and ask forgiveness for the past.

A traitor? I a traitor? No!
I was a patriot to the core;
The South was mine, I loved her so,
I gave her all,–I could no more.

You scowl at me. And was it wrong
To wear the gray my father wore?
Could I slink back, though young and strong,
From foes before my mother’s door?

My mother’s kiss was hot with fight,
My father’s frenzy filled his son,
Through reeking day and sodden night
My sister’s courage urged me on.

And I, a missile steeped in hate,
Hurled forward like a cannonball
By the resistless hand of fate,
Rushed wildly, madly through it all.

I stemmed the level flames of hell,
O’er bayonet bars of death I broke,
I was so near when Cleburne fell,
I heard the muffled bullet stroke!

But all in vain. In dull despair
I saw the storm of conflict die;
Low lay the Southern banner fair
And yonder flag was waving high.

God, what a triumph had the foe!
Laurels, arches, trumpet-blare;
All around the earth their songs did go,
Thundering through heaven their shouts did tear.

My mother, gray and bent with years,
Hoarding love’s withered aftermath,
Her sweet eyes burnt too dry for tears,
Sat in the dust of Sherman’s path.

My father, broken, helpless, poor,
A gloomy, nerveless giant stood,
Too strong to cower and endure,
Too weak to fight for masterhood.

My boyhood home, a blackened heap
Where lizards crawled and briers grew,
Had felt the fire of vengeance creep,
The crashing round-shot hurtle through.

I had no country, all was lost,
I closed my eyes and longed to die,
While past me stalked the awful ghost
Of mangled, murdered Liberty.

The scars upon my body burned,
I felt a heel upon my throat,
A heel that ground and grinding turned
With each triumphal trumpet note.

“Grind on!” I cried “nor doubt that I,
(If all your necks were one and low
As mine is now) delightedly
Would cut it by a single blow!”

II
That was dark night; but day is here,
The crowning victory is won;
Hark, how the sixty millions cheer,
With Freedom’s flag across the sun!

I a traitor! Who are you
That dare to breathe that word to me?
You never wore the Union blue,
No wounds attest your loyalty!

I do detest the sutler’s clerk,
Who dodged and skulked till peace had come.
Then found it most congenial work
To beat the politician’s drum.

I clasp the hand that made my scars,
I cheer the flag my foemen bore,
I shout for joy to see the stars
All on our common shield once more.

I do not cringe before you now,
Or lay my face upon the ground;
I am a man, of men a peer,
And not a cowering, cudgeled hound!

I stand and say that you were right,
I greet you with uncovered head,
Remembering many a thundering fight
While whistling death between us sped.

Remembering the boys in gray,
With thoughts too deep and fine for words,
I lift this cup of love to-day
To drink what only love affords.

Soldier in blue, a health to you!
Long life and vigor oft renewed,
While on your hearts, like honey-dew,
Falls our great country’s gratitude.

by Maurice Thompson (1844-1901)

May26th

THE BLUE AND THE GRAY

By the flow of the inland river,
Whence the fleets of iron have fled,
Where the blades of the grave-grass quiver,
Asleep are the ranks of the dead:
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment-day;
Under the one, the Blue,
Under the other, the Gray.

These in the robings of glory,
Those in the gloom of defeat,
All with the battle-blood gory,
In the dusk of eternity meet:
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment-day,
Under the laurel, the Blue,
Under the willow, the Gray.

From the silence of sorrowful hours
The desolate mourners go,
Lovingly laden with flowers
Alike for the friend and the foe:
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment-day,
Under the roses, the Blue,
Under the lilies, the Gray.

So, with an equal splendor,
The morning sun-rays fall,
With a touch impartially tender,
On the blossoms blooming for all:
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment-day,
Broidered with gold, the Blue,
Mellowed with gold, the Gray.

So, when the summer calleth,
On forest and field of grain,
With an equal murmur falleth
The cooling drip of the rain:
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment-day,
Wet with the rain, the Blue,
Wet with the rain, the Gray.

Sadly, but not with upbraiding,
The generous deed was done,
In the storm of the years that are fading
No braver battle was won:
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment-day,
Under the blossoms, the Blue,
Under the garlands, the Gray.

No more shall the war cry sever,
Or the winding rivers be red;
They banish our anger forever
When they laurel the graves of our dead!
Under the sod and the dew,
Waiting the judgment-day,
Love and tears for the Blue,
Tears and love for the Gray.

by Francis Miles Finch (1827-1907)

(Note. “The Blue and the Gray”, written in remembrance of the dead of the American Civil War, was inspired by a women’s memorial association in Columbus, Mississippi, who on April 25, 1866 tended the graves of Confederate and Union soldiers, treating the dead as equals despite the lingering rancor of the war.)

May25th

POEM FOR CONFEDERATE MEMORIAL DAY

How many springs have gone since they
Who wore the uniform of gray
Last looked upon summer snow of dogwood, blooming below
Their southern skies and friendly sun,
Or watched the winding rivers run
Or knew when spring wind’s gentle hand
Stretched forth to heal their wounded land.
They sleep where the azaleas spread
Their glorious colors, where the red old hills
And mountain peaks
Stand listening while nature speaks.
And from the woodlands sound the strains
Of memories; where coastal plains
Run down to join the ceaseless tide
Ebbing and flowing as they died.
Let us remember them as time
And tide move on in endless rhyme.
When spring is wearing her bouquet
For the lost legions of the gray.
While bud and blossom, hill and tree
Remember them, so shall we.

by Oliver Reeves

May25th

Ode

Sung on the occasion of decorating the graves of the Confederate dead, at Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston, S. C., 1866

Sleep sweetly in your humble graves,
Sleep, martyrs of a fallen cause!—
Though yet no marble column craves
The pilgrim here to pause.

In seeds of laurels in the earth,
The garlands of your fame are sown;
And, somewhere, waiting for its birth,
The shaft is in the stone.

Meanwhile, your sisters for the years
Which hold in trust your storied tombs,
Bring all they now can give you—tears,
And these memorial blooms.

Small tributes, but your shades will smile
As proudly on these wreaths to-day,
As when some cannon-moulded pile
Shall overlook this Bay.

Stoop, angels, hither from the skies!
There is no holier spot of ground,
Than where defeated valor lies
By mourning beauty crowned.

By Henry Timrod

May25th

Ode to the Confederate Dead

Row after row with strict impunity
The headstones yield their names to the element,
The wind whirrs without recollection;
In the riven troughs the splayed leaves
Pile up, of nature the casual sacrament
To the seasonal eternity of death;
Then driven by the fierce scrutiny
Of heaven to their election in the vast breath,
They sough the rumour of mortality.

Autumn is desolation in the plot
Of a thousand acres where these memories grow
From the inexhaustible bodies that are not
Dead, but feed the grass row after rich row.
Think of the autumns that have come and gone!–
Ambitious November with the humors of the year,
With a particular zeal for every slab,
Staining the uncomfortable angels that rot
On the slabs, a wing chipped here, an arm there:
The brute curiosity of an angel’s stare
Turns you, like them, to stone,
Transforms the heaving air
Till plunged to a heavier world below
You shift your sea-space blindly
Heaving, turning like the blind crab.

Dazed by the wind, only the wind
The leaves flying, plunge

You know who have waited by the wall
The twilight certainty of an animal,
Those midnight restitutions of the blood
You know–the immitigable pines, the smoky frieze
Of the sky, the sudden call: you know the rage,
The cold pool left by the mounting flood,
Of muted Zeno and Parmenides.
You who have waited for the angry resolution
Of those desires that should be yours tomorrow,
You know the unimportant shrift of death
And praise the vision
And praise the arrogant circumstance
Of those who fall
Rank upon rank, hurried beyond decision–
Here by the sagging gate, stopped by the wall.

Seeing, seeing only the leaves
Flying, plunge and expire

Turn your eyes to the immoderate past,
Turn to the inscrutable infantry rising
Demons out of the earth they will not last.
Stonewall, Stonewall, and the sunken fields of hemp,
Shiloh, Antietam, Malvern Hill, Bull Run.
Lost in that orient of the thick and fast
You will curse the setting sun.

Cursing only the leaves crying
Like an old man in a storm

You hear the shout, the crazy hemlocks point
With troubled fingers to the silence which
Smothers you, a mummy, in time.

The hound bitch
Toothless and dying, in a musty cellar
Hears the wind only.

Now that the salt of their blood
Stiffens the saltier oblivion of the sea,
Seals the malignant purity of the flood,
What shall we who count our days and bow
Our heads with a commemorial woe
In the ribboned coats of grim felicity,
What shall we say of the bones, unclean,
Whose verdurous anonymity will grow?
The ragged arms, the ragged heads and eyes
Lost in these acres of the insane green?
The gray lean spiders come, they come and go;
In a tangle of willows without light
The singular screech-owl’s tight
Invisible lyric seeds the mind
With the furious murmur of their chivalry.

We shall say only the leaves
Flying, plunge and expire

We shall say only the leaves whispering
In the improbable mist of nightfall
That flies on multiple wing:
Night is the beginning and the end
And in between the ends of distraction
Waits mute speculation, the patient curse
That stones the eyes, or like the jaguar leaps
For his own image in a jungle pool, his victim.

What shall we say who have knowledge
Carried to the heart? Shall we take the act
To the grave? Shall we, more hopeful, set up the grave
In the house? The ravenous grave?

Leave now
The shut gate and the decomposing wall:
The gentle serpent, green in the mulberry bush,
Riots with his tongue through the hush–
Sentinel of the grave who counts us all!

by Allen Tate