Notes from the Castle
The sunlight was not our concern or even
The pane it shone through, and no one was going
Down for the mail, and the four lettuces
The gardener brought as a gift seemed to be
A calculated bounty, so that early on
We knew we were going to be stuck with ourselves
The rest of the day, the vicissitudes
Marching in rows from the forest, the balms
Not arriving till nightfall. On the prowl
Since morning, the wind had a touch too much
Of motivation, an annoying way
Of exactly ruffling the same oak leaf
As if it were practicing a piano trill;
All day, repetitive birds, far off,
Were either boring themselves to death
Or, drunk on instinct, doing their thing:
Ritual dances, territorial rites—
The whole imperial egg. What nests
Ambition is weaving in us is hard
To say: after the flat occasion,
The unshared sphere, each childish wish
Grows hopeless finding this is what the world is.
For this, the recommended cures are useless:
A cheery hello to the disaffected
At breakfast? A soupful of tears at dinner?
You could spill the whole silly story out
To one more demanding, ill-tempered beauty
You happened to meet at the A. & P.,
And still every greedy shopping cart,
First overstuffed and then abandoned
In the parking lot, would leave in its wake
Some human need, ignored, half-starved . . .
Torn between having nothing to say
And saying it, whole diaries get down:
How terrible to have dressed beautifully for the rain! . . .
I was launched on New York's bisexual muddle . . .
And so on. And always the hoped-for redeemer
Turns up and turns with a country stare:
The girl in the lime linen shorts, the boy
With blond corn-silk tow hair, the heart
Speeding up until they speak: the dross
Of cars, the sportsman's life, and money;
And so, believing that you had come
To rest among the innocent soldiers
Of sleep, you had merely stumbled on
Another temporary battlefield
As never-lasting as the shine of water.