from Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror (1975)

        Unsupported by reason’s enigma
	Water collects in squared stone catch basins.
	The land is dry.  Under it moves
	The water.  Fish live in the wells.  The leaves,
	A concerned green, are scrawled on the light.  Bad
	Bindweed and rank ragweed somehow forget to flourish here.
	An inexhaustible wardrobe has been placed at the disposal
	Of each new occurrence.  It can be itself now.
	Day is almost reluctant to decline
	And slowing down opens out new avenues
	That don’t infringe on space but are living here with us.
	Other dreams came and left while the bank
	Of colored verbs and adjectives was shrinking from the light
	To nurse in shade their want of a method
	But most of all she loved the particles
	That transform objects of the same category
	Into particular ones, each distinct
	Within and apart from its own class.
	In all this springing up was no hint
	Of a tide, only a pleasant wavering of the air
	In which all things seemed present, whether
	Just past or soon to come.  It was all invitation.
	So much the flowers outlined along the night
	Alleys when few were visible, yet
	Their story sounded louder than the hum
	Of bug and stick noises that brought up the rear,
	Trundling it along into a new fact of day.
	These were meant to be read as any
	Salutation before getting down to business,
	But they stuck to their guns, and so much
	Was their obstinacy in keeping with the rest
	(Like long flashes of white birds that refuse to die
	When day does) that none knew the warp
	Which presented this major movement as a firm
	Digression, a plain that slowly becomes a mountain.
        So each found himself caught in a net
	As a fashion, and all efforts to wriggle free
	Involved him further, inexorably, since all
	Existed there to be told, shot through
	From border to border.  Here were stones
	That read as patches of sunlight, there was the story
	Of the grandparents, of the vigorous young champion
	(The lines once given to another, now
	Restored to the new speaker), dinners and assemblies,
	The light in the old home, the secret way
	The rooms fed into each other, but all
	The wariness of time watching itself
	For nothing in the complex story grew outside:
	The greatness in the moment of telling stayed unresolved
	Until its wealth of incident, pain mixed with pleasure,
	Faded in the precise moment of bursting
	Into bloom, its growth a static lament.
        Some stories survived the dynasty of the builders
	But their echo was itself locked in, became
	Anticipation that was only memory after all,
	For the possibilities are limited.  It is seen
	At the end that the kind and good are rewarded,
	That the unjust one is doomed to burn forever
	Around his error, sadder and wiser anyway.
	Between these extremes the others muddle through
	Like us, uncertain but wearing artlessly
	Their function of minor characters who must
	Be kept in mind.  It is we who make this
	Jungle and call it space, naming each root,
	Each serpent, for the sound of the name
	As it clinks dully against our pleasure,
	Indifference that is pleasure.  And what would they be
	Without an audience to restrict the innumerable
	Passes and swipes, restored to good humor as it issues
	Into the impervious evening air?  So in some way
	Although the arithmetic is incorrect
	The balance is restored because it
	Balances, knowing it prevails,
	And the man who made the same mistake twice is exonerated.