The Cloud of Knowing

There are those who would have paid that.
The amount your eyes bonded with
(O spangled home) will have to work it out in a room
like they have certain chairs set up together
which were blue-violet. We all have to fail
at the end of days, yet not so pronto
she said. And lo, it was like a breeze of vacuum
beyond the stiff perimeters already granted us.
A whole goes. And then a whole lot.

Most valuably, no one writes a letter
to those sprinting up ahead, who wouldn’t read it anyway.
In Dodge and other windswept places
the evening news took pride of place.
Attentats were back. Parental concern loomed. Peckers
swollen by rainforest beckoned.
Many liberals and even some conservatives
called for a business replacement. Jeez, you guys,
can’t you hum anything? What about little Elfrida?
He’s not the young person I knew.
That one had a lot of little bits in it,
you know, soothing, from home, a minefield.


(1927-2017) was one of the great American poets. This poem was published in The White Review No. 8.