Upon the coral-budded maple spray,
Against the glad expanse of limpid blue,
He asks the question that begins each day,
Entreating dusk without a trace of rue:
"Oh, is it not?" To finish his refrain,
And help him feed the brood within his nest,
I stand and rake the garden in the rain,
While saying "Love," through flames that match his breast.
Come share with me the innocence of mind
That guarantees a life without a flaw,
Beloved bird! It rests beyond my kind
To break the shell, but never break the law
In vales of Eden that we must transcend,
Where strains of rapture never had an end.
They ring my castle rock — they bind that place,
Encircled by the silver flood below,
When I had hoped to find the means to grace
In scenes of scarlet fire and endless snow.
They gaze upon me with a hundred eyes
Of azure, while I hear a wizard's laugh.
They wink through shadows at a hundred lies,
The worst of which, a life denied by half.
But should the modest fire of charity
Consume my blood within the quiet glade
In concord with the eyes that look at me?
They are a laurel and an accolade
For kindness that has kept me young and fair,
To bind another with my golden hair.
THE PINK STAR
My eyes were naked to the febrile star
That turns beyond the barricades of glass
And air as dead as ashes in a jar,
Through which her veils of rosy light must pass.
And in the chilly garret where I stood,
I found the clarity to understand
A chart that leaves my balance to the good:
I am the mirror sparkling in her hand.
The glass pearls ring the heavens, name by name,
And stare each other down, to earn our tears.
We bear the weight of worlds. It is no game,
But reckons the alignment of my fears:
The sound of matching footsteps on the floor,
The spring left open, like a latchless door.
THE LOVED MAN
The silks of Eden conjure his delight
With scent of licorice, with crimson lake;
The flutes of beebalm call him to requite
Their carmine chambers, honeyed for his sake.
He gathers nectar with such mastery,
When he withdraws, they beg him not to go;
The orchard's garlands are his progeny:
He frays the flowers, but they love him so.
And humming softly as the season swells,
He leaves the garden to the seeds of spring.
A pilgrim through the peal of autumn bells,
He finds a house of welcome, there to sing
Upon my hearthstone, never to depart
Its freedom, or the cage within my heart.