Karl Shapiro





Poet in Residence

                                   For Stuart Wright

To some it’s a jewel in the belt of Alma Mater,
To others Beware of the Dog,
To some it’s a jetstream from heaven,
To others an acid rain.
       The poet shy and bold as a bullet
       Arrives at his residence
       Booted and spurred but often with tie.
To some that man is patently impossible,
To others potentiality in person.
       The Muse is standing at the open door,
       The poet takes her in his arms.
       Here are the books, she says, here are the beds.
To some he is a danger to the republic,
To others the cause thereof.
       At the window he asks the names of the trees,
       At the window she weeps with open relief.
To some he muddies the conjugation of numbers,
To others he is the decimal.
       She leads him to the extremities of the map,
       To the shores of the immemorial
       For the sake of his residence.
To some he is lost to society forever,
To others society is lost without him.
       The carillons ring in the campus towers at dusk,
       The bats do squareroot over the ivory tower.