"the cure of souls." Henry James
by Delmore Schwartz
The radiant soda of the seashore fashions
Fun, foam and freedom. The sea laves
The Shaven sand. And the light sways forward
On self-destroying waves.
The rigor of the weekday is cast aside with shoes,
With business suits and traffic's motion;
The lolling man lies with the passionate sun,
Or is drunken in the ocean.
A socialist health take should of the adult,
He is stripped of his class in the bathing-suit,
He returns to the children digging at summer,
A melon-like fruit.
O glittering and rocking and bursting and blue
-Eternities of sea and sky shadow no pleasure:
Time unheard moves and the heart of man is eaten
Consummately at leisure.
The novelist tangential on the boardwalk overhead
Seeks his cure of souls in his own anxious gaze.
"Here," he says, "With whom?" he asks, "This?" he questions,
"What tedium, what blaze?"
"What satisfaction, fruit? What transit, heaven?
Criminal? justified? arrived at what June?"
That nervous conscience amid the concessions
Is haunting, haunted moon.