As soon as the cold old sun feels warm,
a powerful impulse says Lie down.
Down on a bench; in the lap of noon;
on the green bosom of a lawn;
down on a hillside, under a tree,
in mothers absence. In or on,
horizontalitys all one.
Effaced each spring a little more
by being forty-two, three, four,
wrapped in invisibility,
I lie and look across the sky.
Near the horizon a streak of green
swells like a harbinger of dawn
not green like new leaves everywhere,
rather a verdant atmosphere.
I tilt my face, luxuriate
chin up and eyes shutin the heat,
warmth that this year feels different.
Spring means all it ever meant,
but the earth where I lay my head
covers my two beloved dead.
They do not say Forsake the sun.
They say We loved it, and were gone.
That golden magnanimity!
Ten minutes is enough for me.
Opening my eyes, I readjust
my mind, eyes, body. For I must
gradually as in a dream
return to vertical again,
stand up and somehow move beyond
my buried mother, my buried friend.
This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 12 Number 8, on page 34
Copyright © 2019 The New Criterion | www.newcriterion.com