That, in Aleppo once, where With nectar pure his oozy locks he laves, Bloom, O ye amaranths! Bloom for whom ye may, Till elevators drop us from our day. . .
And would it have been worth it, after all, To let the warm love in Or stain her honor or her new brocade To a green thought in a green shade?
As though to protect what it advertises, Surely some revelation is at hand; My music shows ye have your closes, And to die is different from what anyone supposed, and luckier.
Blind mouths! as from an unextinguished hearth, Me only cruel immortality Consumes: whatever dies was not mixed equally But does a human form display
Alone and palely loitering, like a rose rabbi. O could I lose all father now! for why I wretch lay wrestling with (my God!) my God, Honey of generation had betrayed.
These modifications of matter into innocent athletes Whose action is no stronger than a flower Through Eden took their solitary way. I, too, dislike it. With rue my heart is laden.
If you are coming down through the narrows of the River Kiang, Where knock is open wide, Fear death by water. To begin the morning right, The small rain down can rain
Where ignorant armies clash by night Though I sang in my chains like the sea. Nor law, nor duty bade me fight, Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
Joy’s grape, with how sad steps, O Moon, With naked foot stalking in my chamber. The dark italics it could not propound, And so – for God’s sake – hock and soda-water!
Cento: The True Romantics
I hid my love when young till I Heard the thunder hoarsely laugh, Heard the skylark warbling in the sky, For the eye altering alters all.
But with a sweet forgetting, And a heaven in a wild flower, The awful shadow of some unseen power Hath had elsewhere its setting.
I would build that dome in air And in the icy silence of the tomb, For the sword outwears its sheath,
And whom I love, I love indeed, And all I loved, I loved alone, Ignorant and wanton as the dawn.
-- David Lehman, a native New Yorker, divides his time between Ithaca, New York, and New York City, where he teaches in the graduate writing program of the New School. His books include Sinatra’s Century: One Hundred Notes on the Man and His World (HarperCollins) and Poems in the Manner Of (Scribner). He is the editor of The Oxford Book of AmericanPoetry.