Someone hands you an English thriller,
You don’t read English.
You’ve worked up a thirst
for something you can’t afford.
You have deep insights,
brand new, and they sound
like an academic glossing Hölderlin.
You hear the waves at night
ramping against the shore
and you think: that’s what waves do.
Worse: you’re asked out
when at home you get better coffee,
silence, and you don’t expect to be amused.
Awful: not to die in summer
under a bright sky
when the rich dirt
falls easily from the shovel.
You rained down poems on the whole world
like a dark monsoon-cloud,
but red flames leaping toward heaven
burn the lips that once sang
of an arrow
that bites the dust.
My father wind and you my mother earth,
Fire, my friend, water, my near relation
And you my brother sky; in this last breath
Of mortal life I send you salutation.
From living ever with you comes this birth
Of uncontaminated wisdom with increase
Of goodness that all darkness and all folly cease
As now I live in brahma in my death.
Giant heads of gold are in the sky.
And now, far from me, my horse.
I kneel twice and cry with anguish and fear.
Death follows me.
I look to the sky where my gold knife reigns
with its blue queen and I tell my dreams.
Today’s today. Tomorrow, we may be
ourselves gone down the drain of
A sudden madness came down upon the unwary lover [Orpheus] –
forgivable, surely, if Death knew
how to forgive.
They brought me word of your death,
and I wept for you remembering
how often we watched the sun
setting as we talked.
Dear Halikarnassian friend,
you lie elsewhere now
and are mere ashes;
yet your songs—your nightingales—will live,
and never will the underworld,
touch them with its deadly hand.