. ge six
". a v ar as s i ! L V
We walked by Willow Bayou, and our feet
Started a rustling in the fallen leaves,
When close before us, like discovered thieves,
A flight of mallards broke, alarmed and fleet,
Their wingbeats pattering like driven sleet
-On fallows when the crying Northwind cleaves
The bands of teal, and each lone killdeer grieves
At the bright files of Autumn in retreat.
What loveliness we glimpse but momently
And yearn to track through west-born waterways
To higher valleys green with uncut bays
Where birds and men are dear and proud and free.
Ah, but beyond the steel-spanned Golden Gate
Frail wilderness goes, and millions hail the State.
We talked last night of that fine company s
Who sasg with fervent grace and sure control,
Who watched the Wain encircle the far Pole,
And caught its cadence in grand poetry,
Of Shakespeare's perfectly dispassioned eye,
And Milton's glowing solace in farewell,
Of Keats, who struck a flawless silver bell,
And Housman's proudly wrought simplicity.
Then we recalled the Thunders of Earth
Who stormed or held their plains, seas, peaks, towns, isles,
We thought of how last May the marshalled files
Slogged toward the front with grim, despairful mirth.
And Truth and Destiny opposed huge towers
Before us, but I saw the last was ours.
Dear Friend, let us put on against these times
The manly garments of tranquility,
Bounden in flesh, still keep our spirits free
From this neurotic passion which begrimes
So many high names with commingled fear
Hatred, intolerance, and urge to kill,
To let loose all the engines of ill will,
And bring to grief so much that has been dear.
If we must fight, let us still realize
It is the debt of nations rich in gold
To keep by force what force obtained of old,
And let blood quench the thirst of ancient lies.
Hate is the cheapest, easiest form of lust,
And corrupts more than ever moth or rust.
The saddest nights Earth bears are with us now,
When doors first shut against the evening chill
And the long, childless streets are deathly still
Save where some screech owl worries on his bough. ,
The season of far wandering is done,
When cars on the highways kept their dusty chain
Intact from California east to Maine
In the white glory of the August sun.
Now the heart stills like the deserted streets
At sight of the grand corridor of Fall,
At the withdrawal of the precious sweets,
The scenes, hours, loves no new Spring shall recall.
In Winter's eye it is hard to be wise,
Knowing how much shall not see May arise.
-John Paul Ragsdale
There is an ache that beauty brings
So far, so fierce, so piercing'sweet
It transcends all the splendid things
One gathers round himself more meet.
O beauty could you but have waited
With all your charm and flowing pain,
Till this poor heart maturity had tasted
He at your bosom forever might have lain.
But alas! the chrysalis of youthful years
So slow developing-so slow to understand,
Has left me only the flood of torrential tears
And folly's youthful faults to reprimand.
Crime Without Equity
There are two murderers in my room,
Day and nighttime waging silent war:
Two illumined hands on a field of time.
I can shut my door against disaster,
I can close my heart against war,
But I can never escape
The tick of their stealthy weapons.
The sins of the silver sword are manifold,
He murders minutes.
But the shorter rogue is the greater villain:
Steady and cautious, with infinite precision
He thrusts his dagger into the full breast
Of a poignant hour.
"SEED OF HARVESTRY",
Stone achieved the subtlety of flesh,
Perpetually prisoning soul within the dull
Marble; so real that I might grasp the mesh
Of tangled thoughts within the rigid skull.
Features rough beneath the mallet blows,
Grown fine with tedious chiselling line to line,
Hewing brow that rises from the nose
Whose shape is delicately aquiline.
Bloodless cheeks beneat'h my finger's touch;
Pale mouth almost alive to question me:
Why have I sculptured your grave eyes so much
Aware of things, yet lacking sight to see?
Pygmalion! Greater fool I am than he
To fashion one that cannot ever be!