The Mind, Intractable Thing
even with its own ax to grind, sometimes
helps others. Why can’t it help me?
wizard in words—poet, was it, as
Alfredo Panzini defined you?
Weren’t you refracting just now
on my eye’s half-closed triptych
the image, enhanced, or a glen—
“the foxgrape festoon as sere leaves fell”
on the sand-pale dark byrod, one leaf adrift
from the thin-twigged persimmon; again,
caught-up-with, uncatchable cuckoo
after two hours’ pursuit, zigzagging
road-runner, stenciled in black
stripes all over, the tail
windmilling up to defy me?
You understand terror, know how to deal
with pent-up emotion, a ballad, witchcraft.
I don’t. O Zeus and O Destiny!
Unafraid of what’s done,
undeterred by apparent defeat,
you, imagnifico, unafraid
of disparagers, death, dejection,
have out-wiled the Mermaid of Zennor,
made wordcraft irresistible:
reef, wreck, lost lad, and “Sea-foundered bell”—
craft with which I don’t know how to deal.