The fruit is gorged with sweetness past all
And the flies come in their hundreds.
Doors opening and closing all night long
But never the right one.
And I used to envy Solomon all those women—
If he was wise, he left them to their own
Nectar rises to the nostril frothy and tingling
And thus the bee is trapped.
I know her better than she knows herself—
Love has conferred on me this trivial privilege.
All night I have lain awake pleading with my
Don't do this to me again.
You never stopped to think why it smelled so
And you never will.
After the snow melts, the snow man stands a long
Then the snow man melts.
And they that have power to hurt do it.
They do not do the thing they most do show.
You have a fancy name for your state of mind—
It's just a kettle banging in the wind.
The heart wants instruction in the realities
And pain is expert.
If you're lost in the woods, you move in
If you're done with the fire you started, put it
She thinks if she puts out, her sainthood will
He figures his wit and pathos entitle him to
She laughs and cries, showing her small teeth;
He lifts her dress and buries his face in her
She loves somebody else, who doesn't give a
He does too, but that's different.
It was all good clean fun that had no future
And now it doesn't even have a past.
Neither of them is even alive at this point—
There's just me, and you, I suppose, wherever
What a mess, the meat burnt, the sink
The kid won't stop crying, he wants his milk.
From a thousand Chinese dinners, one cookie:
Good fortune in love, also a better position.
So much for both. Too many humorless people
Who can't believe that God could have made the
Maybe he didn't make it. Maybe hydrogen
Made nitrogen and one thing led to another.
Some hold that early man stumbled upon it
While dreaming of the perfect end to a long
But I say only Italians, with their flair for
Could have invented this fragrant envelope.
Let's drink to the Italians, especially Catullus,
Who knew it was no joke but couldn't help
A tear falls wordlessly into darkness.
Slivers of gold light faint on the threads of
And terrible longings that can't name themselves
Burrow down through the soul and end up digging
Seven numbers want to be sucked off;
A guy named Susan is dying alone in her bed.
And look, foam is drying into webs in the beer
It wants to rejoin the air and be free of all
You can't die from it but you wish you could.
And even at this moment, you smell your fingers.
A woman gazes after a man, a man after a woman
But their eyes don't meet. They're looking
Stopping on a deserted street, the shock of
Your half-moon face in the black window.
I see the adjective and the noun entwined,
The verb reaching out its hands to them all.
A line of verse advances into whiteness
With long feelers, like a blind man's cane.
It sings about snow, how warm it is in the snow,
But the next line has something entirely
different in mind.
It has the man and the woman, or two men,
And it can scarcely bear to say what it sees.
What did you see in those eyes that made you
And you wouldn't look but turned your face away?
Don't be afraid of dying. The glass of water
Is quickly poured into the waiting goblet.
Your face that will be of no further use to
Grows more and more transparent, nothing is
It's night in the remotest provinces of the
Seeing falls back into the great sea of light.
How strange to see that glittering green fly
Walk onto the eyeball, rubbing its hands and
Don't be afraid, you're going to where you were
Before birth pushed you into this cold light.
Lie down here, next to Empedocles;
Be joined to the small grains of the
The needle veers back and forth in the last
The faint sound of that fire consumes the whole
Spectral rings on the table, the mother's rings,
Whose young body once flashed in the firelight.
Not a breath stirs the mound of cold ashes
That still feathers the curve of the Beloved's
Nothing beholds itself in the gilded mirror.
The silence is imaginary with no one there to
To be that no one, disappeared forever,
Already dancing in the golden chambers of the
In a field of mustard and grasses, blowing
A house, almost beyond the light. Who lives in
Mother is resting. On Sunday it is so.
The cat's eyes half close. The mice go by
Alighting to sip dew from the cool ruffles
The butterfly bows slightly, folding her wings.
There in a stripe of sunlight yellow as her
Spilled wine, and a thimble lying on its side.
Glimpses given even to those in torment.
Yes. Even in this world.
Collected Poems: 1952-1999, University of
2000. Reprinted by permission of the author.