Turn your head. Look. The light is turning yellow.
The river seems enriched thereby, not to say deepened.
       Why this is, I’ll never be able to tell you.

       Or is it that Americans love failure?
One used to say so, reading Fitzgerald, as it happened.
       (That Viking Portable, all water-spotted and yellow.

       Remember?) Or does mere distance lend a value
To things?—false, it may be, but the view is hardly cheapened.
       Why this is, I’ll never be able to tell you.

       The smoke, those tiny cars, the whole urban milieu—
One can like anything diminishment has sharpened.
       Our painter friend, Lang, might show the whole thing yellow

       And not be much off. It’s nuance that counts, not color—
As in a late James novel, saved up for some long weekend.
       Why this is, I’ll never be able to tell you.

       How frail our generation has got, how sallow
And pinched with just surviving! We all go off the deep end
       Finally, gold beaten thinly out to yellow;
       And why this is, I’ll never be able to tell you.

This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 3 Number 6, on page 41
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