Minding this fallen world, kicking its leaves,
Waiting for something to happen, fearing what might,
Infected with life yet having no wish to transmit it,
One walks along in the autumn, kicking dead leaves.
Torn from us, mourned for, consigned to the earth,
The long friends lie in a hard box out of sight.
Tomorrow, beached on the dark side of the moon
In a sealed can: complete mummification.
Or let the burial missile nudge past the moon,
That the dead may continue to wander.
O deep dark outer space—in you
All objects shine more beautifully than on earth.
We have sought you in pools and looking glasses,
We have called conventions in your name,
We have found you in drink.
Mad with your ether we have hit the moon.
How many years, mooning around inside me, a man
Droller than myself claims he can’t act without
Further instructions. Sly, cantankerous loon—
I’m done humoring you. Out the door with you, out.
Out, at the town’s end. Out. Save what you can.
Scratch in the dust with the long tines plinking,
Tinka-tink-ting, by the bonfire’s towering fumes.
And rake what is foul to a pure acrid burning.
This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 2 Number 9, on page 49
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