POETRY PAGE SIX
COLUMN FIFTY-TWO, OCTOBER 1, 2000
(Copyright © 2000 Al Aronowitz)
GOD THOUGHT UPON THE MULE THAT
I have you sleeping in my hand---
Yet my ways disturb your dreams
Like wind arranging sand.
You dream of lost children---
They walk alone on the snow.
Let us bury ourselves deep
In this dream, follow the frozen
Waters as they pool to light,
As they find the well of stars.
You will witness much tonight. ##
AT BURNHAM HARBOR
Come see the blue on blue, the lake and sky;
Come see the scarlet dress on autumn trees.
Remember now how hand in hand lovers vie,
And blossoms fade to seeds against the bees.
Look how the flags unfold upon the breeze.
What finer land could be below the sun?
But wait; the doors, the bars, I lost my keys.
So what! The athletes will run and run.
A wind picks up the dry and scattered leaves.
For some, they are their words, their gold.
A locust rattles elsewhere in the trees,
For youth, this is the song of growing old.
over it," they say, but I go through,
And make one wing to do the work of two. ##
ENDLESS LITTERED ORB
A rain is knocking on the roof and sill
And sullen clouds are all the light we see;
With liquid shades of gray the hours distill
A symphony of moods in minor key.
Beyond our rooms, a block of flats absorbs
November's wind and rain, their windows dark
And drawn to mute the endless littered orbs
Of city life that close upon the park.
It is as if a tax of centuries
Accumulates in blistered wood and stone,
To rob us of our natural harmonies,
Where artists write and draw their own,
Where friendships warm in cups of orange tea
And we converse in houses by the sea. #
BY THE RIVER
We walk down Michigan Avenue
on a December night---slow shoppers
huddled arm in arm below the midnight blue
in bundled coats and scarves of breath.
The Wrigley Building lights shoot thick
beams of gloss across the river,
they glaze with frost a wall of brick---
the bridge wavers with traffic.
A soft snow falls to the collected light
as couples stroll by windows,
stop, point out a sparkling of foil,
then look up to the snow, as it bows
from darkness into light, white dots
descending, as if the world were not right
side up, but these notes were pulled
from a dark well by the draw of light,
as if these flakes were letters of a poem
assembling negative upon a page,
or cotton coming down to mend
a blanket for the night, making our age
forget its business, its separation,
the Siberian expanse of avenues,
this snow, frozen ration from the river
Lethe, falling on the city like dust
upon a memory, syllables of snow
sifted from the sky, that warrant
messengers from white to indigo---
a new world tender with the old. ##
And now that I have seen what he's become,
I pause surprised! Why he is mortal, too.
For just as I have soured, and bent from plumb,
So he refused the grace from false to true.
There was a time when I was starved for light.
He stood as if the noon were in his hands,
And I reached out---no bread was ever so bright---
But then the world's argument demands
The banquet end, even if it ends too soon.
Why yes, the seasons shift and branch---
The grape, the plume, the raisin and the prune---
We all start out with juice, but not carte-blanche.
Now you who read this world with youthful eyes,
Take heart, it's not that bad when beauty dies. ##
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