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“ . . . he lay among his mysteries / and desired only this gold crumb he already had.”—Rilke, “The Alchemist,” trans. C. F. MacIntyre


When you are old and all your friends have died,

--well, most of them, those left, sadly, a silent few--

you fear to judge the merits of your work

--reading it over, so much of it seems crass--

but then Yeats, Auden, Lowell, Larkin too

wrote reams of rubbish, from among the mass

of which such brilliant bits stand out,

gleaming  augurs in the wordy trash.


We sapiens are a parlous lot, we prattle

too much--talk embroiders our small battle,

talk, words, language, invented aeons ago

by ancestors half-thug, half-angel,  descended from the trees

in that immemorial speechless Eden

that we now strive to remember. Perhaps to know?




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