This circle holding the afternoon sky is a lake
by Ruth Stone
For summer business measured in stacked pairs
Of peeling oars whose dinghies all ship water.
Beside it on the trampled grass a carrousel shakes
And turns on an Old World instrument
The plink and plank and tinkle of a tune
Of plunging horses in fresh habiliment.
We catch the reins of enamel Pegasus
And lift the child until she is astride
A purple beast, where, wrapping infant arms
About his neck of wood, she whirls in space
And gallops off upon the turning wheel.
The horse climbs steadily the silver pole
Where cherubs hang, then slides toward spinning earth;
She sees the moving heaven of winged babes;
Rising to meet them, rising, she returns
To where our faces, staring in at hers,
Fixed, while her orbit whirls and sunlight burns,
Recede to artifact as her vision blurs.