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Poems

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Economies of days have tongues

 

Economies of days have tongues;
Aside the meanings of their speech
A syntax touches all their hours.

Mostly it goes quick, untestified, until
The curt midday is set at past, lets
The shadows longer than the gnomen,

Once believed, flood upon the court.
Then it is examined; and with thought.

 

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Then the dusk inflection
of no witness

Then the dusk inflection of no witness.
The skyline ridge of pines gains form,
is set against the sky. Self in outline,
standing now with hawthorn hedge
and upright straw and distant spire.

 

 

 

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Fugitive

Here in one day forever, day
which does not end in dark,
nor long shadows ride the rise:
the night’s within, not following,
and the silence in the bruise
of noise the silence of an end
and origin, the day not sallowing.

He is the syntax of the hour.
The mirror gives the grammar
which he is, here in a day forever;
unmeasuring, he is the measure:
light within the night endeavour.

Here, on the cusp of freedom,
a day’s emotion seeks the heart.
The world will break before it is.
Here’s the moment of depart.

 

 

 

 

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The well-drawn night within
the day

The well-drawn night within the day
casts the shadow of untimely pause;
the shadiness beneath this verb
breaks a monument and takes no name.
The ordered time inside the scroll
sows no grasses on the naked hill:
yet who in backward light would lose his name
to find the danger in his road of sight?

And gales of time across the face
break salt waters on the forward brow.
The well-thrown stones beneath the feet
light both an upright sense and mean a road.
The orphaned time within the eye
ordains the holding of the ragged staff:
and who in inward light would cast his mind
to risk the breaking of his new-knit bones?

The elements this day, this now,
prick the neuter of the tale’s end light,
uplifting modes of knowing from the rut.
Light the sky borne by the feeling head:
the wordless colloquy of selves
at last is singled, and, ensingle, mute.
Yet who, sortition-wise, denies his loins
to starve the day-mad master of his suns?

 

 

 

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The fragment of the idiom
of whole

Word, manciple of warring unknowns,
barring wall between street and cemetery,
house and made ground of the past.
And the abstraction of language

carries no weight. Nor a described sun
falls into night, no day complete
without the furfureal motes
within the long remembered ray,

the fragment of the idiom of whole:

 

 

 

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Foramina

One timbre for all
in this skull-shaped cave:
one timbre for all.

Each passage resounds
where a nerve lies.
Where a vessel runs,

resonance is made: stars
in their dark, arrangements
lose their names

between these pillars
dark in life. A nerve speaks
to all that flows within:

one timbre for all.
Dust speaks of dust,
one timbre for all.

 

 

 

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Seaside piano trio

The fingers hold the keys, then rise; the sound is gone:
the bows unmoving, yet to lift. An unseen gauze
of silence quickly drops. Here, motion ends. Alone,
the unheard turning of the earth. And, then, applause
seemed not to die away: beneath its wide veneer
the long black shiver of the sea beneath the pier.

 


 

 

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The tally

The day rived and the tally made:

ring on ring, noon on noon,
indenture on indenture, and some part
carried always in the mind,
more than the mirror to the flood
of water underneath the bridge:

and the stationary part, remote,
home of phenomena never seen:
where is that housed? And yet
the contention never comes
where these are closed together.

 

 

 

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‘Irony done to death’

Irony done to death
but still the room
an echo and a breath.
Serif on the tomb
the first to fall
as days call down:
own, disown.

 

 

 

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He cannot be born

Before he was born
the calm evening light
still lit on the wall
is now gone. In all
its calm hues
through the air
of a room and a room
is no more. The hours
of its fall, they
are gone. The sash
is now wide and the birds
and their song from the lane
they are gone, and the lights
of the glass are still fired
by light from the west
are no more, and the garden
and field have all gone.
The grove of tall trees
by the lane is no more.
It was gone before
he was born; is no more.
He cannot be born
unless they are gone;
til their shadow is gone
he cannot be born.

 

 

 

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Room in a city

A fragment of a greater time not mine
—nor in those pasts that I might claim— falls
upon the mind, below the readings
of a sense, say, the outline of a city seen
at dusk, against the massing of the hills,

a window in a block, uncurtained now,
a lit interior, a plain room never seen before
by me, but which I know. Nothing else
is given beyond the instant of suspended
sight. And there it hangs, displacing

by a sheet of high reality the common myth
that time like water flows and bears
events, until its timeless passing brings
to mind the thought: the world’s drawn up,
laid out, anatomized in ways where each

excludes the rest. Something drapes, unseen,
the unowned days which might have been.

 

 

 

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Quality without name

A moody presence comes, a presentiment
of presence—
to name would be to mask, and, behind a mask
a life might evaporate. So, quality without name,
unsubstanced feeling, open up a window
in the stone,
climb the dial’s tower to the star-roofed floor
with me.
I’m awake now; and sometimes I’m no more
than a mood
like this, and no nearer than a far presentiment.

 

 

 

 

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Around the graves

Who, making day, and leaving day unsigned,

asks, myself an entity, or a mirrored gate?
When the orbéd soul has gone, the tomb
of angle lies beneath the moon’s white circle
and casts the moondial shadow. Around

the graves the summer grass is short; dew
has cleansed the air, and in the stubble-field
beyond the graveyard fence the skyline hare,
stock-still, has caught an unfamiliar scent.
In this unremembered night a day’s assigned.

 

 


 

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