I was running—
water on my left,
night on my right.
I was dreaming of happiness.
The light of dawn
rose into the sky—
the color of blood.
I heard the sirens wailing.
I remembered women
stranded on islands
calling sailors to be their lovers.
But those men died in the waves.
Their bodies were broken
on the rocks
and torn apart in the siren-song.
The city is like that, too.
Wise-men plug their ears
with wax from the honey-comb
and sail on.
Even Odysseus barely survived.
But in Boston, a mother is cradling
her injured daughter in her arms,
praying for death to pass by.
Who can live in a world-gone-mad?
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There was the quarrel and his shrugged-off wife
(whose hurt heart turned, perhaps, in time to stone) –
the opportunity to shape his life
as he would wish, decisively alone.
There was success, the mountebank who made
the fictions of his inwardness come true,
and there were other loves for which he paid
with loathing for the new self he now knew.
There was regret, the image of a child
that he had lost, that time could not restore;
there was the hunger to be reconciled.
Stratford again – and there, his own front door.
The statue moved and, gently, she descended,
and all the mighty fictions were now ended.
from American Arts Quarterly (Winter 2013)
p.s. Compare to “Uxor Vivamus” (read aloud by the poet)
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“Resounding through all the notes
in the earth’s colorful dream,
there sounds a faint, long-drawn note
for the one who listens in secret.”
(quoted by Schumann
before his Fantasie in C Major, Opus 17
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Ecstatic bird songs pound
the hollow vastness of the sky
with metallic clinkings–
beating color up into it
at a far edge,–beating it, beating it
with rising, triumphant ardor,–
stirring it into warmth,
quickening in it a spreading change,–
bursting wildly against it as
dividing the horizon, a heavy sun
lifts himself–is lifted–
bit by bit above the edge
of things,–runs free at last
out into the open–lumbering
glorified in full release upward–
William Carlos Williams
Posted in The Daily Poems | Tagged Dawn, William Carlos Williams | 1 Comment »