Monday, July 27, 2015
From Collected Poems 1916 - 1976, by Allen Tate
The idiot greens the meadow with his eyes,
The meadow creeps implacable and still;
A dog barks, the hammock swings, he lies.
One two three the cows bulge on the hill.
Motion that is not time erects snowdrifts
While sister's hand sieves waterfalls of lace.
With a palm fan closer than death he lifts
The Ozarks and tilted seas across his face.
In the long sunset where impatient sound
Strips niggers to a multiple of backs
Flies yield their heat, magnolias drench the ground
With Appomattox! The shadows lie in stacks.
The julep glass weaves echoes in Jim's kinks
While ashy Jim puts murmurs in the day;
Now in the idiot's heart a chamber stinks
Of dead asters, as the potter's field of May.
All evening the marsh is a slick pool
Where dream wild hares, witch hazel, pretty girls.
'Up from the important picnic of a fool
Those rotted asters!' Eddy on eddy swirls
The innocent mansion of a panthers heart!
It crumbles, tick-tick time drags it in
Till now his arteries lag and now they start
Reverence with the frigid gusts of sin.
The stillness pelts the eye, assaults the hair;
A beech sticks out a branch to warn the stars,
A lightening-bug jerks angles in the air,
Diving. 'I am the captain of new wars!'
The dusk runs down the lane driven like hail;
Far off a precise whistle is escheat
To the dark; and then the towering weak and pale
Covers his eyes with memory like a sheet.