background image
stubble burning 119
at charlotte
Eating alone, what shall I have along
For company
At my small table, while the young
Mostly it is who'll neighbor me
In twos, threes, fours, clear-eyed and smooth of face,
Inside this place?
-- Old Bridges, yes; the secret of a few,
Not doctrinaire,
Who see the fi rm shapes, lovely, true,
Stir in that style `so worn and bare,'
Stone-carved and weathered, rose- and ivy-trace
Still twine in place;
This Hume, which from its unfrequented, dim
And cool recess,
His minor works, I pick by whim;
Prose at its ease in formal dress,
Genial, stately as if in stellar space
Wheeling in place:
My dark blue, gold-stamped duodecimos
Beside my plate,
I'll start at random, verse or prose,
Read on, or stop and meditate,
Or gaze and eavesdrop on the human race
But keep my place.
...Though what I hear when I look up at last
Is this catch-phrase
And that from a decade well past,
Phrases the old rage still replays,
Habitual grievance, now, that words encase
And keep in place,