for Dewey Huston
Tell me again about the butterflies,
old friend of my father, bringer of tales,
the gully, mossy rocks of the streambed,
a cool breeze off the glacier high above,
and suddenly butterflies everywhere
as if the air you breathed were blossoming.
I’ve seen so many things, you said. I wish
I could write them down. And when my brother died
you were the alpinist and engineer
who had an explanation where he’d gone,
waving a hand in air. It’s energy,
you said. That energy must still be somewhere.
Ah, but the real life is never written down,
and who could understand the butterflies —
that there were so many, so surprisingly?
Tell me again, old friend, and I will try
to catch the light, the flavor of the air
like moss, like distant ice, like clear water.
The Rose of the World
Who dreamed that beauty passes like a dream?
For these red lips, with all their mournful pride,
Mournful that no new wonder may betide,
Troy passed away in one high funeral gleam,
And Usna’s children died.
We and the labouring world are passing by:
Amid men’s souls, that waver and give place
Like the pale waters in their wintry race,
Under the passing stars, foam of the sky,
Lives on this lonely face.
Bow down, archangels, in your dim abode:
Before you were, or any hearts to beat,
Weary and kind one lingered by His seat;
He made the world to be a grassy road
Before her wandering feet.