background image
stubble burning 121
Now that we've quit that cant about sheer need
(That less was less indeed
Being plain now everywhere
Speak of needs rather: which ones? whose? and spare,
Spare us mere
that stale confection.
No, draw your art up through severe refl ection,
And lay it out for us once more complete.
Sidney, on his defeat
At court, living apart
In Wales one summer fashioned anew the art
Of English poetry. Look what there is
To be engaged: hungers, abilities
Well, well. Charlotte has chosen to locate
With a sure wit,
Just here on upper lower State
Between the chic and the misfi t
Making this calm and airy and clear space
Stand, in their place ...
And late as it always is to build by it,
In the debris
Here, there, intelligence is lit ...
Let it be for a tough subtlety
Of beauty, and a roughed-in wisdom for the race
To hold in place.
The boss meanwhile moves easily here, there,
This late fall night,
The soup and bread and wine her care --
That some small gain for our delight
And dignity can be, is the clear case
Inside this place.
November 1982; September 1985