JUNE 1971


(For Jeremy Ben)



What loss was there

what vacancies accumulate

just silence and the summer rain

that drops through space untenanted

by watchful mothers' anxious pose

a waiting father's harbor-hands

these arms that running child enclose

can tell, just they explain.


Drums should have rolled out our taking

massed horns blared it,

a city risen as the sky split

and supernal voices cried

This may not be.  

                                But not  

this obscene tranquillity

of a street swept of dirt and alarm

its sleepers calmly blanketed

its long face shuttered, complacent

as pigeons under the linden trees

as we crunched past the corner

already transported

                                 for a last look back.





Version originally published in Hudson River Anthology (Spring 1976) (first of a 5-poem cycle)